‘It: Chapter 2’ Does Terrifyingly Well

Hayden Swanson, Managing Editor

Almost 40 years have passed since Stephen King initially released his book, and two movie adaptations later, his terrifying franchise is as popular as ever. It: Chapter 2 is the highly anticipated sequel to 2017’s It, which was adapted from Stephen King’s classic novel of the same name. Taking place 27 years after the first film, It: Chapter 2 follows the now grown up Losers Club as they return back to their hometown of Derry, Maine to face off against Pennywise the clown once again to finish It off once and for all. With this sequel, director Andy Muschietti proves once again that not only does he understand the source material and remain faithful to it, he also knows how to expand upon it and pull it off very effectively.

One of the greatest aspects of this sequel is its stellar casting choices. Since the film is set much later after its predecessor, each character had to be recast with an adult actor, and they all somewhat ironically had very big shoes to fill. However, all seven adult actors absolutely nail their roles, each successfully channeling the energy of the child actors from the previous movie. Bill Hader as Richie Tozier (formerly played by Finn Wolfhard) is easily the best example of this, where not only does he feel exactly like the same person but grown up, but he also manages to add an extra layer of depth to the character that was previously unseen in not only the first movie, but in any of the other adaptations of this story. James Ransone plays Eddie Kaspbrack (formerly played by Jack Dylan Grazer), and his performance successfully captures the energy that young, paranoid Eddie had in the first film. James McAvoy plays Bill Denbrough (formerly played by Jaeden Martell) gives an outstanding emotional performance just like his younger counterpart. Jessica Chastain plays Beverly Marsh (formerly played by Sophia Lillis), and manages to still feel like a person who’s dealt with plenty of traumatic abusive experiences. Jay Ryan, Isaiah Mustafa, Andy Bean, and Teach Grant all appear as older versions of characters, but their roles are much more minor. The way Muschietti connects each pair of actors in flashback scenes is absolutely brilliant, and does wonders for showing how much each character has changed over the 27 year gap between films. Bill Skarsgård returns as Pennywise, and is just as brilliantly terrifying as he was before, even with what little screen time he gets. 

This is a long movie, clocking in at an almost three hour runtime, and it definitely feels this long. The movie is tainted with pacing issues left and right, and certain segments feel as if they are entirely too long. Granted, the book is more than 1000 pages long, so the movie had a lot of ground to cover to remain as faithful as it could to the source material, and there’s definitely payoff for that. A longer run time should mean more room for an abundance of scary moments, but oddly this is something the movie lacks for the most part. Sure, there are plenty of terrifying scenes, but not nearly as many as one would expect from a horror movie. There is, however, plenty of downright hilarious scenes, and not in a bad way. The movie is surprisingly funny, chock-full of brilliant gags and meta humor. This makes It: Chapter 2 a very balanced package, containing something for any viewer to enjoy, even those who aren’t fans of the horror genre. Many scenes in the movie involve heavy use of CGI, and for the most part, it’s pretty solid. Some notable exceptions, however, include the de-aging effects used on some of the child actors in the flashback scenes. It’s painfully obvious that work was done to make them appear as they did back in 2017, and it’s nowhere near flawless. Occasionally, it’s so distracting that it takes you completely out of the movie, which is disappointing. Other than that, the special effects look fantastic and are utterly disturbing in a good way.

It: Chapter 2 is a solid sequel in a variety of ways, and longtime fans of either Stephen King or the It franchise are guaranteed to have a great time watching it. Despite the occasional pacing discrepancies and weak special effects at times, It: Chapter 2 makes for a terrifying experience at the theater and will likely scare audiences for years to come.