REVIEW: ‘IT Chapter Two’ misses the mark

"IT Chapter 2" was released in theaters Friday, Sept. 6.

2017’s “IT” was as charming as a horror movie could be. With that being said, I had high expectations for the second chapter. Instead, I found myself emerging from the theater three hours later realizing the second chapter was nothing but missed opportunities. 

If a movie is going to be almost three hours long, it better be time well spent. Instead, “IT Chapter Two” glossed over many important things, while spending entirely way too much time on others. 

For example, it took a while to re-introduce the characters as their older selves. At the time, I didn’t mind it, as seeing where the characters ended up was entertaining, but spending so much time on the topic wasn’t needed because the characters showed virtually no development from when they were kids (with the exception of Ben’s physical glow up).

The scene where Beverly visits her childhood apartment and finds it is now inhabited by the daughter of the man who “made” Pennywise was less than satisfactory. Here, the producers had a golden opportunity: humanize the inhuman. Make us see Pennywise as more than a shape-shifting monster.They could have made us emphasize — and almost root for — Pennywise the way we care for Hannibal Lecter.However, the scene was rushed and was used as a mere scare tactic. 

Another scene that missed its full potential was when Bev was trapped in the bathroom as an adult, drowning in blood. It directly paralleled the experience of her youth and brought back the fear surrounding her father. I was there for it. I loved it —  until Jack Torrance tried to make his way into the stall saying, “Here’s Johnny!” 

At this moment, I laughed. Everybody loves it when horror films show allusions to other ones, especially when we have some King-to-King references, but one this explicit? Come on. It was so distracting, it ruined the whole scene. Plus, a true horror fan would already understand the parallel between the flood of blood in “The Shining” and the blood in the bathroom. 

Adding to my frustration, the director seemed to completely write off the little boy who is targeted by the monster. We expect the kid to play some significance, as he shows up at the Chinese restaurant after the Losers reunite and then later runs into Bill. The kid tells Bill that he hears voices coming from the bathtub drain, making it clear he is being terrorized by Pennywise. But, after the kid falls prey to Pennywise in the house of mirrors, there is no mention of the kid again. There is no resolution to this. 

Upon looking further into the movie afterwards, the clubhouse did not make an appearance until the second movie. This is problematic considering how significant a role it played in the Losers’ childhoods. Afterall, it is one of the few scenes in the second movie where we see Stanley as more than just a background character (aside from his suicide) and it is the site of Ben facing his biggest fear (dying alone). 

Introducing the clubhouse this late in the game makes it seem like the director forgot all about it while making the first movie, so he shrugged and figured he’d just toss it into the next one. 

I’m fine with having to research movies to fully understand them, however, this was a big problem here. The central plot point, which apparently is called “The Ritual of Chud,” is super confusing. According to Time, the ritual is explained better in the novel. For those like me who haven’t taken a deep dive into the literature, the movie’s brief explanation leaves the question “What the heck did I just watch?”

The funny thing is, this wacky ritual has seemingly nothing to do with how the adult Losers finally defeat It. The Losers had to make the monster feel small, essentially bullying it, to make it a manageable opponent. I love how this circled back to the original theme of fear that the first movie had played out so well, but did it have to take nearly three hours to come to this resolution? 

When reflecting on the movie, I find it funny Mr. King himself made a not-so-cameo appearance. In order to be in the movie, he must have approved of its direction, right? Well, considering all the mentioned factors, I don’t see how he could have reasonably liked the film,including others interested in more than just some scary scenes.

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