“It Chapter Two,” a horror movie with few scary moments and even more laughs, is out in theaters this week. The movie is a sequel to the 2017 movie “It.”
Both movies are adaptations of the 1986 Stephen King horror novel “It,” which is about a monster that takes the form of a clown named Pennywise and uses fear to kill kids in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, as was the plot of the first film. Twenty-seven years later the clown is back and draws the kids, now adults, back to Derry to deal with it once and for all in Chapter Two.
Director Andrés Muschiette and screenwriter Gary Dauberman, who both worked on the first movie, return to their roles in “It Chapter Two.”
Chapter Two fails as a sequel to its predecessor because so much time is dedicated to explaining what happened in the past and no time is dedicated to properly flesh out the characters as adults.
The film picks up with every member of the Losers Club promising to return to their hometown if Pennywise ever returns to take his revenge.
“It Chapter Two” brings us into a reality where the kids have grown up and put the terror from the first film behind them. But when Pennywise summons the outcasts, they are forced to reunite and the long-awaited ensemble stumbles incoherently toward a sloppy reunion.
After 27 years without contact, the Losers Club are forced to rectify why such a tight-knit group became strangers in adulthood, forcing them to confront the shared trauma they have all repressed and forgotten.
The events are awkwardly mixed up every time the film cuts back and forth from the adventures of the adult Losers to the experiences of their younger selves.
The directors should have commited to one of two things: the adults fighting Pennywise or the town dealing with the horrific trauma dealt to its community so long ago. Either story would have been a good movie to make, but unfortunately, they chose neither.
But there are good moments in “It Chapter Two.”
The movie shines best when the adults are together. They all play off each other nicely. This probably wasn’t hard for James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain, since the two also starred in this year’s X-Men movie, “Dark Phoenix.”
Every actor effectively portrays the aged version of their younger counterpart from the first movie. Not only do the adults have the look, but their mannerisms match too. Adult Eddie, played by James Ransone, is the spitting image of the hypochondriac kid portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer in “It.” Bill Hader, who really captivates the audience with his spot-on take on Richie, is the comedic driving force. But the jokes aren’t squarely left to him.
“It Chapter Two” doles out many comedic moments, but does so at the expense of its horror. There is a surprise death scene in the tail end of the film, but it ends with a joke about an outdated 80s haircut that ruins the weight of the otherwise scary scene.
Pennywise is not pulling any punches when he terrorizes the Losers as adults, but the scares mostly end up being creepy or weird and not really horror-esque when the movie has time for him. He is best used when scaring new kids.
The jump scares are all that is truly scary about “It Chapter Two.”
“It Chapter Two” is a definite watch if you’re a fan of the first film and are intrigued to learn how the story ends, but has less appeal to casual moviegoers and traditional horror fans.
If you like comedy over scares in horror movies, want to see more of the kids from the first movie and don’t mind sitting through almost three hours of conflicting narratives, go see “It Chapter Two.”