By Ceara Kelly, Staff Writer
[Warner Bros. Pictures; 2019]
It’s finally here; one of the most anticipated horror sequels of recent memory is now in theaters. Now, what is it? Why it’s It Chapter Two, of course. That’s right, the Losers are back, along with everyone’s favorite child-eating clown, to finish off the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It novel. Only this time around, instead of the gang being foul-mouthed spunky kiddos, they’re all 30 and depressed.
Read more: Movie Review: Us
Twenty-seven years after the events of It, the gang is called back to Derry by Mike (Isaiah Mustafa), who never left, in order to destroy the evil they fought specifically 27 years ago (don’t you dare round it up to 30). The rest of the now-grown Losers left the small town years ago and have all but forgotten their friends and lives there. Not even Pennywise the Clown deserves to be remembered, even if he didn’t forget them.
With the skip in time comes a whole new cast of actors: Beverly is now played by Jessica Chastain and Bill Hader takes over for Finn Wolfhard as Richie, which is pretty cool considering their younger counterparts wished for them to be cast as such way back when. They aren’t the only spectacular age-ups though, as the entire cast looks like the younger actors were shoved into an aging machine. The distinct personalities of Bill, Bev, Ben, Richie, Eddie, Mike and Stanley are still wonderfully portrayed. Eddie is the same anxiety-ridden dweeb he was. Richie is just as foul-mouthed. And, Mike is just as dependable. Unfortunately, their chemistry doesn’t stay.
It’s hard to change actors in the middle of a franchise and still maintain the believable relationships of the originals, and it doesn’t help that It Chapter Two decides to separate the Losers for the majority of the film, keeping natural chemistry from forming and throwing the pacing off completely. This is a three-hour movie, and it could have been cut in half if the characters were able to interact and share some scenes. The only characters who manage to maintain any of their chemistry, unfortunately, also fall victim to the cliché trope of the “sad and gay” characters, but it’s almost excused purely because it provides some much-needed human connection. Even the constant attempt at pity for Stanley falls flat, considering he is the least memorable from the first movie. The continued love triangle is even duller than it was the last time.
The scares aren’t fantastic either. They ranged from visually terrifying but predictable to well done but downright laughable. After all, not many people are terrified by a vomiting monster while Don’t Call Me Angel blares for five seconds.
In the end, aside from a few unnecessary side plots, It Chapter 2 manages to hold up as a sequel that has plenty of humor, great acting that makes up for the poorly represented relationships, and that gets in a good scare or two, even with the predictable formula. Besides, what other movie lets you see Bill Hader call a clown a “sloppy bitch.”
Watch the trailer here: