Mount St. Joseph University

10/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/15/2019 09:00

Movie Review: ‘IT: Chapter Two’ Fails as a Sequel

In 2017, we were introduced to a new iteration of Stephen King's immensely popular, over 1,000-page horror fiction novel, It, which was published in 1986. The novel follows seven outcast children who band together to defeat an evil being who has been terrorizing their town every 27 years for centuries. The entity uses a person's biggest fears against them, and most often takes the form of a terrifying clown called Pennywise.

The first film, It, which grossed around 700 million dollars, earning the title of the highest-grossing horror film of all time, was very entertaining for many fans of horror films like myself. Though the runtime was almost a full two and a half hours, it didn't feel like it. I think this is because the seven lead characters made the movie engaging with their immense talent, charm, and humor. So often in horror movies, the characters are not given much attention in favor of focusing on making the film as scary as possible. While this works in some movies, if you are going to make a lengthy, complex horror movie, you need to keep the audience engaged and emotionally invested in the story, and it's hard not to get attached to these kids. That being said, the 2019 recent release, It Chapter Two, fails to live up to the great first installment.

The second film picks up 27 years after the first one ended, when evil returns to the town of Derry, Maine, and the group reunites to defeat Pennywise once and for all. The child actors are now replaced by seven new actors including Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, and James McAvoy, who are well-known and give great performances, but they don't have the same appeal as the kids did. It Chapter Two is also almost three hours long, making it even longer than the first, which doesn't help.

There were a few scary scenes, but not as many as the first. While I enjoyed seeing where the characters had gone in life, the whole story dragged as we went through a separate fear sequence for every character before the big finale, which was more bizarre than frightening. Although the highly-anticipated second film in the duology doesn't live up to the first, I think it was still a well-made movie with impressive graphics and great acting that could have been made better if it were more concise and included more scenes that built up heart-pounding suspense. Nevertheless, seeing It Chapter Two is a great way to get into the Halloween spirit.