Back in 2017, Stephen King’s novel “It” (or at least the first part of it) was remade as a glossy, modern-day fright flick, eventually becoming the highest grossing horror movie of all time. This success, along with the fact that it was only “Chapter 1”, essentially warranted a sequel to wrap up the story.
Unfortunately, both the remake and its follow-up are dreadful movies, opting for obvious jump scares, slow pacing, a bloated runtime, toned-down violence, lackluster blood, and a convoluted plot, all of which “It: Chapter 2” delivers in greater quantities. With an unnecessary runtime that nears three hours, the film has plenty of time to implement the same drab, boring, cliched, rote elements of the first film.
Other than the stellar casting, which perfectly imagines the adolescent characters of the first movie as adults 27 years later, “It: Chapter 2” is everything a horror film shouldn't be. The gargantuan runtime drags on and on, seemingly never ending, especially in the falling action that follows the equally drawn-out climax. The plot is entirely overly complicated, utilizing so many flashbacks it might as well have a fetish for them.
There are absolutely no scares, terror or suspense to be found, and most of the time you will only find yourself guffawing at the terrible CGI and unintentionally hilarious scenes or yawning as the film slogs on. Scenes with demonic fortune cookies, a monstrous, naked elderly woman and digitally de-aged actors cannot be taken seriously.
To make matters worse, many scenes are poorly lit, necessitating ocular straining to make out the visuals, and several lines of dialogue, most from the character Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa), are unintelligible. Furthermore, any onscreen blood and carnage is kept to a minimum or is downright unimpressive. What ever happened to the “horror” in “horrifying?” I didn't even bat an eye.
Much of “It: Chapter 2”’s narrative problems arise from trying to fit too much content into one movie, no matter how long. One of the biggest examples is the climactic showdown with Pennywise, its ludicrous setting and special effects only indicators of the nonsense that is to come. Feeling more like a video game boss battle than a true action sequence, each character gets their own haunting vision that is then focused on for several minutes, only elongating the already tedious sequence.
Much like the overall plot’s reliance on flashbacks and separate storylines-within-storylines, the climax jumps back and forth between too many characters too many times, cutting up the narrative into a choppy, incomprehensible mess. And then there’s the anticlimactic ending to the showdown, a complete whimper instead of a bang, followed by the aforementioned endless falling action.
In the end, I sat through the entirety of “It: Chapter 2” with a straight face that was only broken by bouts of sudden laughter and the occasional yawn, which tells you all you need to know about the movie.