“IT Chapter Two” Provides More Laughs Than Scares


Chloe Goodwin

Ken Kalin, Contributing Writer

Rating: 3.5/5 Falcons

Two years ago, the film adaptation of Stephen King’s IT became one of the most talked-about horror movies in recent memory. This remake of the 1990 TV movie of the same name brought modern special effects and thrills to a time -tested story. The 2017 version of IT follows a group of teenagers growing up in Derry, Maine in the 1980s. In addition to their more common struggles, such as growing up and facing school bullies, these friends, who come to call themselves “The Losers Club,” must also face off against the supernatural Pennywise the Clown, a demon who awakens every 27 years to wreak havoc on Derry. IT (2017) works so well because all the kids, who were previously misfits at their school, become friends and find a place to be “losers” together. The film intersperses scary imagery with coming-of-age moments like the one when the gang all goes swimming together in a quarry. This juxtaposition of horror and interpersonal growth made IT (2017) about much more than just fighting an evil clown. At the end of the movie, the gang vows to come back to Derry in 27 years when Pennywise will re-awaken and vanquish him once and for all.

This is where IT Chapter 2 begins, 27 years later in the present day. After an opening scene in which Pennywise attacks a new victim, Mike, one of the kids from the last movie, now an adult, realizes that Pennywise has returned. He calls all of his friends back to Derry where they must fight off the clown once again. IT Chapter 2 spends a fair amount of time trying to make theatergoers feel connected to the new actors playing “The Losers Club” as adults. 

IT Chapter 2 is definitely a worthy sequel to the incredible IT (2017). However, I found it lacking in a few key ways.”

The movie does a good job of showing flashbacks to the original film (as well as new scenes played by the cast of teenagers from the first movie) to help the audience understand what the characters are talking about when the reference their experiences from the first movie. However, it is still confusing to keep track of which adult actor represents which kid, since the last movie was released two years ago. Even so, once the Losers all reconvene in Derry and form a plan to kill Pennywise, the plot begins to pick up speed.

A key difference between IT Chapter 2 and the first movie is the prominence of humor in the sequel. With the casting of Bill Hader, the “Saturday Night Live” veteran, as Richie (one of the kids from the first movie), IT Chapter 2 includes some more comedic moments than the last film. In fact, I found myself laughing at some of the jump scares instead of cowering in fear. On the other hand, the humor made the action seem a little less real, as the characters often used witty lines to defuse tense situations, something that didn’t happen in the first film. Unlike IT (2017), I did not find myself looking over my shoulder on my walk home from the theater (something I’ve come to expect from horror movies).

IT Chapter 2 is definitely a worthy sequel to the incredible IT (2017). However, I found it lacking in a few key ways. First, IT Chapter 2 lacked much of the character building and coming of age drama that the first movie had. Granted, this did not necessarily make sense for the sequel because the characters were now all adults, but the effect was that the second movie lacked some of the charm of the first one. Secondly, by adding humor to lighten the mood, IT Chapter 2 was a lot less scary than the first one, which for a horror movie is a little disappointing. Overall, if you enjoyed the first movie and want some closure to the story of Pennywise the Clown, this movie will certainly frighten and entertain you, but it won’t IT Chapter 2 surpassed part one.

This piece also appears in our September 2019 print edition.