Pennywise the Dancing Clown has returned to cinemas to haunt your nightmares one last time.
While Stephen King film adaptations have been popular since the 1970s, one could agree that they did not reach their full potential until 2017’s “IT." The film outperformed expectations, becoming the highest grossing R-rated horror film of time. When a sequel was teased at the end of the first film, audiences began waiting with bated breath for the continuation of the story.
Now, 2 years later, “IT Chapter 2” has released. Does the sequel hold up to the high standards that the first film set?
Sadly, no, but I suppose that was an unrealistic hope.
Twenty seven years after the events of the first film, “IT Chapter 2” sees the Losers Club reuniting as adults to end Pennywise’s reign of terror once and for all.
One of the biggest worries I had going into this film was the time skip itself. The best thing about the first film was the young casts performances. Without that same cast, I worried that “IT Chapter 2” would lose what made the original so special.
I happened to be both correct and incorrect at the same time. The new film features a large amount of flashback scenes featuring the original cast, so it feels like they never left. While the new cast does a fairly good job embodying grown up versions of the characters from the first film, they pale in comparison to the younger actors.
This is not to say that the new cast is bad, however. James McAvoy, Bill Hader and James Ransone gave my favorite performances of the bunch, giving hilarious and, when need be, moving performances. Bill Skarsgard gives another iconic performance as Pennywise. While some say his performance is over the top, I think that it perfectly fits the character and leaves a lasting impression on viewers.
Pennywise is still one of the best parts of the film. Every time he is on screen he is menacing. It is clear to see why Skarsgard’s version of the character has become such a prominent horror icon in the last two years.
The film is a true sequel in the fact that it does not stand on its own whatsoever. Little explanation of past events or characterization is given throughout the film with the expectation that audiences have seen the first. However, seeing as how the first movie grossed over $700 million this isn’t a bold thing to assume.
The film likes to joke about how one of its main characters cannot write endings for his novels, which is a clear reference to Stephen King. The ironic thing about this is that my least favorite part of the film is the conclusion. After nearly six hours of buildup ,counting the first film, the final battle between Pennywise was a big letdown to me.
“IT Chapter 2” is almost three hours long and you can feel it during the movie. Many scenes drag on for far too long and it felt like the movie took forever to end. This extended run time paired with a lackluster climax left me checking my watch towards the end of the film and wondering, “is it over yet?”
Chances are that if you enjoyed the first film, you’ll at least get some enjoyment out of “IT Chapter 2”. While it is by no means a bad film, it simply does not compare to the original.
If you are in the mood for a big budget, over the top horror film to get you in the Halloween spirit a little early, “IT Chapter 2” might be the film for you. If you want to see a satisfying conclusion to the story set up in the original film, however, you won’t be finding that here.