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‘IT Chapter Two’ is frighteningly bad

The follow-up to the horror smash is an absurd misfire.

Peter Brown, Staff Reporter
October 25, 2019

Pennywise stares menacingly in one of the laughable film’s more serious moments.

As most people alive then know, Andre Muschetti’s 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s popular horror novel “IT” was a resounding success, receiving critical praise and the largest box office opening for an R-rated movie ever. Ever. Widely admired for its talented young cast, emotional sensibility and legitimate horror, the promise of a second installment was genuinely exciting. Unfortunately, “IT Chapter Two” is terrible. Massively disappointing. On almost every level.

The reality of chapter two’s incredibly low quality sets in slowly. The creative transitions and attempted artistic style of the opening makes you want to like it (though preceded by a tasteless homophobic murder scene), but as the film progresses it becomes slightly clearer what you’re in for.

“IT” is awkward. The adult cast, with the exception of Bill Hader, isn’t nearly as charming as the previous film’s younger stars. The writing is weak, the typically strong actors like James MacAvoy and Jessica Chastain struggle under the dead-weight of their characters, and the utter lack of chemistry. Additionally, teenage actors from the first chapter (including a bizarrely de-aged Finn Wolfhard), deal with noticeably more wooden dialogue, and a feeling of lack of purpose in the story. There’s a sense that their inclusion is only to satisfy fans of the first film, a gross sense of self-nostalgia, a recurrent theme in the movie.

The younger cast isn’t the only indulgence though. The film is 3 hours long. And there’s no inherent issue with that since there’s a number of acclaimed films (Schindler’s List, the Lord of The Rings films) with lofty run times. But those are good films, and the length is needed to serve the story. Chapter two is neither good, nor does anything in it feel necessary. “IT” is a victim of brutally under-served editing, leaving far too much in, and dabbling in iMovie white screen transitions and pretty atrocious color.

Shots bounce between everything is green and everything is yellow, etc. it’s kind of amazing for a blockbuster studio film. It looks bad, just generally, special effects sequences look like Xbox 360 game play, and normal scenes look like Mazda commercials shot in horror sets. Any visual appeal or interest from the last entry is practically gone.

Above all of this is a bold stupidity. It may be one of the most proudly unintelligent movies to come out recently, but even worse is it carries itself with an aura of sophistication and a total lack of self awareness. More than the countless confusingly bad moments (The song Angel in The Morning plays for about five seconds, full volume), “It Chapter 2” attempts a lot of very poorly handled social commentary with Pennywise’s bizarre turn as body-shaming, misogynistic homophobe. Not neglecting that all of this is done with chapter two’s bizarre and uncomfortable sense of humor.

It is plotless, the characters are weak, it’s impressively poorly made for film of its size and it carries itself with an unearned pretentious air which takes it from hate watch territory to just hate. At the very end of the film a title comes up that says “A film by Andre Muschetti”, not “Directed by”, “A film by”. Makes sense.

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‘IT Chapter Two’ is frighteningly bad