Cast: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, and Bill Skarsgård
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer: Gary Dauberman
Runtime: 169 Minutes
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures/ New Line Cinema
If you were like me and walked out of the first It and immediately started thinking about how the next film will play out and wondering who’s going to be in it, then you’re clearly a fan. It: Chapter 2 is the first big movie to be released for the fall movie season, and what better way to start it off then finding out the reason why most people are terrified of clowns in the first place.
What’s the Story: After a body was found in a river in Derry, Maine, Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), the only one to stay in the town, calls up the rest of the Losers’ Club, which consist of Bill (James McAvoy). Beverly (Jessica Chastain), Richie (Bill Hader), Ben (Jay Ryan), Eddie (James Ransone), and Stanely (Andy Bean), since they all made a blood oath when they were younger to reunite and finally defeat the evil Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård) 27 years later as he returns to terrorize the town once more.
When the first It came out back in 2017, it was a massive surprise when it turned out to be one of the best film based on one of Stephen King’s most popular novels. Not only did it managed to be excellent, it deservedly went on to become the highest-grossing R-rated horror movie of all-time. The idea of this part focusing on the Losers’ Club as adults is the best idea since there was no way everything could fit into one movie when the book has over 1,000 pages.
Of course, I went into this with high expectations since it was one of my most anticipated movies of the year (duh). Though I feel like the chances of a horror sequel being better than its predecessor is a little unlikely. Did I know this wasn’t going to as amazing as the original? Pretty much. But was It: Chapter 2 a good time in the theater? Indeed it was.
Let’s start with the performances and the chemistry from the adult cast because that was surprised me the most. Though it was more interesting when the younger cast from the last movie and flashbacks incorporated in here as well, I was still able to accept that these people were friends in the best way possible. Not only that, but the casting alone is like looking at a flashforward and believing these kids grew up into recognizable faces.
The two standouts that were on my mind were McAvoy and Hader, respectively. McAvoy is one of my favorite actors, in general, and he was the perfect guy to portray an older version of Jaeden Martell. Then you got Hader, who steals every scene he’s in and just an inspiring casting choice to play an older Richie because he’s just that funny and provides the film’s biggest laughs.
There isn’t as much Pennywise as one would expect in this installment, but Skarsgård’s performance continues to be horrifying and even funny as the killer clown or any other entity in its attempt to make the adults afraid of what they fear.
Andy Muschietti returns to the directing chair and knows how to shoot a horror film that needs a good sense of tension when the scene calls for it. This time he goes bigger in an understandable way in terms of CGI that had mixed results. But there were some terrific scene transitions and camera work that hasn’t been seen much from the genre. It’s a great-looking flick with some cool visual imagery, even though the third act wasn’t the best directed in certain scenes.
Gary Dauberman is the only screenwriter from the original to return to pen the script, and sometimes the narrative isn’t the strongest and it some things could’ve been tightened up a bit. But if its purpose was to make the viewer care about these characters by the end of it, it succeeded when it injects those moments of heart.
Since I was familiar with the second half of the miniseries, there were moments that I saw coming, even without reading the book. That also kind of means not being that afraid at the scary scenes that were either predictable or just not frightening in the slightest. There were a few times jumpscares came into play, and I couldn’t tell if it was cheap or worked. For instance, there wasn’t anything like the perfect projector scene that nobody saw coming.
And you take a look at the 169 runtime thinking that’s it might be boring for a horror movie, and it wasn’t for the most part. At no point was this entering into a dull territory, but I did feel like the length of the film is unnecessary and could’ve cut out about 20-30 minutes, especially compared to how well-paced the first film was. Most of the time, it does contain interesting flashbacks with the kids, and I did find it a bit confusing for someone that doesn’t know if these scenes were from the book. Even so, most of them kind of seemed pointless, in my opinion.
I feel like the first It is something I can watch on a random day and be glued to the screen. Here, this isn’t something to watch right away. I am curious to see if Muschietti will make both parts and put them together into one, five-hour-long movie. That’s something to be interested in.
This might be one of those horror sequels that could split with some people, but this is personally fun and entertaining for my taste. It: Chapter 2 isn’t perfect by any means, and it doesn’t hold a candle to what the previous film offered, but if you’re a fan of King and just want a good horror sequel, there’s no harm in checking it out for yourself.
Doctor Sleep is the next Stephen King adaptation to come out in a couple of months. It would be the best thing ever if it lived up to the hype.