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  • Writer's pictureMichael Pogach

Pogach Reviews: It Chapter 2

You know that restaurant, your favorite one from back in the day that you visited for the first time in five or ten or twenty years? The meal was good, but didn’t quite live up to its own legend in your mind, right? That’s It Chapter 2. It’s good, but it doesn’t live up to Chapter 1, let alone the 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry.

Here’s the thing about It—I tried to read the book in about 1987 or 1988, when I was twelve or thirteen. I made it almost 100 pages in before I lost my nerve. I don’t even remember most of what I read, only the part with Georgie and the sewer. That book terrified me like nothing else before and nothing since. I’m talking, insomnia and tangible anxiety at even the sight of the book on a shelf, for years afterward. To this day, we don’t bring that book into my house.

Then, when I was 15 the miniseries hit TV. It was like facing my fears, both horrifying and cathartic. And Tim Curry’s Pennywise recalled all kinds of nightmares from the book. His will always be the most iconic and scariest of clowns.

It Chapter 2 is a decent horror sequel, though the way Chapter 1 was setup, I’m not convinced it was entirely necessary. And it simply doesn’t live up to the miniseries in terms of scope or nostalgia. Chapter 1 was good. Like very good. Full of tension and thrills and that damn clown. Chapter 2 is more about pop up scares and adults facing their fears. It depicts catharsis for the characters without offering any for me. And the special effects ranged from Pan’s Labyrinth to Beetlejuice, which is to say from good and creepy to 80s cheesy.

All that said, there are some solid scenes, like the one where Bev visits the apartment where she grew up and the old woman living there now. Also, Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy give strong performances. Bill Hader and James Ransone are solid enough. And Bill Skarsgård is excellent as Pennywise, with one caveat: he’s playing a part we already know. He's infusing it with freshness but not originality. I think he was going for something like Heath Ledger's defining take on the Joker, but for me it came across at its weakest moments like Jared Leto's, and at its strongest moments like Jack Nicholson's. Don't get me wrong, Nicholson's Joker was great. But if you're going to reboot It, I think you need to shoot for more.

My suggestion: watch It Chapter 1. If you really feel the need to know what happens after, then you’ll enjoy It Chapter 2 enough to make it worth your time. Or at least, worth most of your time, because at almost three hours runtime, it’s just too damn long.

3.5 / 5 stars


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