“It: Chapter 2” is fun for the whole family


Miles Bennett

The latest film adaptation of one of Stephen King’s three billion page, nonsensical, spook fests is a competently made film that lacks in the spook department. Like it’s predecessor, “It: Chapter 2” proved itself to be a very entertaining film that kept me mostly engaged throughout its two hour run time. Considering that the source material is a 1,138 page slog through a cocaine addict’s absurd ramblings, I’d say that that’s a moderately impressive feat.

Don’t get me wrong though, this film definitely isn’t flawless.

Infographic by: Miles Bennett

For starters, the movie as a whole wasn’t really that scary. Sure, there were some creepy bits and imaginatively grotesque designs sprinkled throughout, but a lot of the “scary” parts just boiled down to a thing or group of things jumping out at the audience. These jump scares made me jump, as they are intended to, but I never felt any residual fear after the fact.

This leads to Pennywise himself and all of the illusory beasts he creates feeling like they aren’t too much of a threat to the protagonists, myself or any of my fellow theater goers. Coupled with the atmosphere being pretty weak, this leads me to classify it as more of a spooky comedy and less of a genuine horror experience.

But even though he didn’t scare me too much, Bill Skarsgard’s performance as Nickelback the Perambulating Pierrot was phenomenal and definitely the most entertaining part of the movie. His ability to rapidly switch his tone, voice, body language and expression mid scene was genuinely impressive. Anytime I saw him and his bulbous forehead or one of his stupid, red balloons pop into the frame in frame, I knew I was in for some wacky antics.

Skarsgard plays off of every other actor so well that it almost seems like he’s improvising the whole thing. Or that he’s actually a shapeshifting alien clown monster in real life and he’s not even acting at all. Both are equally believable to be honest.

The other members of the main cast all had quite a bit of talent to showcase as well, with Bill Hader and James Macavoy being the best of the bunch. Everyone and their mom knows that James Macavoy is a hunky Scottish man who acts better that most of us can breathe, so it’s no surprise that he did great in this flick. Hader, however, caught me off guard. I’ve only seen him in comedies and goofy sketches, but he really proves in this film that he can competently deliver a dramatic dialogue and wetten my teenage tear ducts in the process. Stephen King himself even makes a surprisingly well acted cameo where he basically throws salt in James Macavoy’s eyeballs for 2 minutes straight. So all and all, pretty much every performer did a great job of convincing me of the validity of the world It: Chapter 2 builds for itself, but sadly, other aspects of filmmaking did not

Although the imagery in this film was varied and interesting most of the time, half of the scenes that used copious amounts of CGI look like they were made by my dementia-riddled great grandmother on a Macbook that’d been set on fire. I feel like if the shark from Back to the Future 2 rivals the effects in your 2019 Stephen King clown movie, then maybe it should’ve spent more time in the editing bay. It’s hard to discuss without spoiling some of the scary bits, just keep in mind that, while watching a few of the scenes in the film, you’ll feel like your watching an episode of the Goosebumps TV show from the early 90s.

Another big gripe I have is that the plot is kind of basic and predictable, but the cast was so exceptional that I kind of forgot to be peeved about it for the most part. The big “twist” at the end was so obvious that I audibly groaned when it finally came to fruition. There are a few plot holes and inconsistencies, which I can’t cover for spoiler reasons, but just know that anyone who considers themselves of lover of film will find them at least slightly annoying. 

However, there is one reveal about one of the protagonists near the end of the film, that was very subtle in delivery and made me a very happy camper. So it’s not like the story itself was trash, it just felt clumsy and mismanaged.

“It: Chapter 2” also wasn’t afraid to show a more comedic side of its narrative, which worked surprisingly well. It was no “Superbad,” but my friends and I cracked up quite a few times when we saw the movie in theaters.

One odd choice I noticed was that every time any of the actors in the film said the word “it”, whether they were talking about clown boy or not, they went out of their way to over-enunciate and stretch out the word. I found it unintentionally funny and it made me laugh a few times, but I’m pretty sure nobody in the theater shared my sentiments. I could practically feel the dirty looks from miscellaneous theater goers, while I was chuckled during a serious death scene, but that’s neither here nor there.

With all things considered, I’d rate “It: Chapter 2” a solid 6.5 out of ten. It’s very flawed, but I’d recommend giving it a watch despite its flaws. All of the performances are solid and everyone who worked on it clearly cared enough to make it a memorable flick. Just don’t go in expecting a cinematic masterpiece or to have nightmares for the next three months after watching it and I’m sure you’ll have a groovy good time.