Review: It Chapter Two (2019) – Funnier but not scarier

it chapter two pennywise teeth
it chapter two pennywise teeth

It Chapter Two – Movie Review

Review video :

Written review :

The iconic murderous, flesh-eating clown is back in It Chapter Two. Does this sequel float as well as Chapter One? Short answer is a no.

It Chapter Two is a sequel to 2017’s It. Both films are an adaptation of Stephen King’s popular 1986 horror novel of the same name. The film is once again directed by Andy Muschietti who did the first film but this time, the screenplay is written by Gary Dauberman alone.

The story takes place 27 years after the Losers Club have forced Pennywise the Dancing Clown into hibernation but It is back feeding on people again in the town of Derry. The kids of the Losers Club, now all grown up, portrayed by a strong cast — James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, just to name a few. They have to return to their hometown to try to destroy It once and for all.

I enjoyed the first film although I felt that it doesn’t have the level of creepiness that the 1990 miniseries adaptation does. Tonally, I felt that it’s less dark as well and Bill Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise is a bit too tryhard for me. I’m not saying the 1990 miniseries is better than this new film adaptation but to me, Tim Curry’s performance as the killer clown is definitely stronger and scarier than Skarsgard’s.

It Chapter One was all about the characters when they were kids. It’s fun to watch like an adventure. Like a season of Stranger Things. Or a R-rated Goosebumps episode. Problem is, that doesn’t change or intensify in Chapter Two. If anything, I felt that it’s more comedically playful than the first film.

I certainly laughed more than I was frightened. Thanks to the jokes and Bill Hader’s performance as the comic-relief guy, Richie, who trashtalks with or about the other characters almost every time he’s on screen. Pennywise fooling around in the background is hilarious as well.

Clowns are scary, with bags full of tricks, especially Pennywise who’s a supernatural being that can shapeshift and make people hallucinate. But sadly, none of the tricks in this sequel felt new to me.

I want to be scared and be terrified but that’s difficult when almost every jumpscare is super predictable here. When the character looks around in the scene and nothing is there with complete silence, it’s obvious that something’s going to appear to whichever side is empty in the shot.

While other scares just feel uninspiringly gross. Sam Raimi would be proud with all the vomiting, a la Drag Me to Hell (2009). And some parts just feels extremely stupid as though I’m watching Jim Carrey’s The Mask (1994) character trying to do horror with overuse of unimpressive CGI. The killer clown shows his set of shark teeth so much that it’s lost its effect on me halfway through the film.

Pennywise’s powers can seem very inconsistent. At most times, it’s like he knows where everyone is and can appear to scare them at any time in different forms. Then there are times he is conveniently weak and doesn’t even know his preys are looking at him from just a few metres away.

The storytelling of the first film is easier to digest compared to the 1990 adaptation because it doesn’t have a non-linear narrative. However, in this sequel, it has a lot of flashbacks in and out throughout the film and feels uneven as some characters seem to have longer flashbacks, backstory and drama than others.

The flashbacks are there because most of the characters have strangely forgotten what happened 27 years ago and therefore they each have to find their own way to remember. Like old Peter Pan returning to Neverland in Steven Spielberg’s Hook (1991). They split up to relive and face their fears alone AGAIN. So yeah, it’s like watching the first film again but not as good.

The biggest problem is that, despite the decent performances by the cast, there seems to be a lack of emotional weight and the stakes don’t feel as high as before. The film is 2 hours and 49 minutes long and yet it fails to recapture or further develop the characters and their relationships properly. I didn’t care if any of them dies and hence, I don’t find the film as thrilling as it could’ve been.

But we do get a funny cameo appearance by Stephen King himself. You won’t miss it as this scene is a few minutes long.

In overall, It Chapter Two is not a very strong followup to its 2017 predecessor. It’s no where as terrifying as I was hoping It to be albeit it’s still decently fun to watch at parts. It’s funnier but not scarier.

If you like horror movies that are not too scary and have good humour, you might enjoy this more than me. But come on, it’s It. It is iconic. It is supposed to be extremely scary. I don’t know. I can’t help but to feel disappointed. I slept too well last night after watching this.

*Rating and Malaysian censorship info are given in the review video above. Please watch it, give it a thumbs up and subscribe the channel if you haven’t already. Thanks for your kind support!

On a separate note, I watched this film in GSC’s newly launched ScreenX, Malaysia’s first 270-degree panaromic theater experience where there are additional screens on both sides on the wall in the hall. It expands the view of certain scenes to give the audience a more immersive experience but frankly, it didn’t really do much for me. Maybe ’cause I was seated at side. Do check it out yourself and comment below to let me know your own experience with it.

It Chapter Two It 2 movie poster malaysia keyart

Based on: 1986 novel “It” by Stephen King

Genre: Horror
Running Time: 169 minutes
Director: Andy Muschietti
Screenwriter: Gary Dauberman
Cast: Bill Skarsgard, Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader

Malaysia Release Date: 5 September 2019
Rated: 18
Local Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures Malaysia
Production: New Line Cinema, Double Dream, Vertigo Entertainment, Rideback

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