Warning: This review contains spoilers.
I normally hate to walk out of a theater to use the restroom. When I go to concessions before a movie, I almost never get a drink because I know, an hour later, I’m going to need to visit the latrine. And it will come at a high point in the movie that I will not want to miss.
During one of the many, many, many flashbacks in It Chapter Two, I got up, went to pee, and found out I had missed a funny little sequence. Oh, well. I told my friend I could find it on YouTube later if I cared enough. But I don’t care enough.
Before I get much deeper into this review, I must admit something: I’ve never read Stephen King’s It. While I have enjoyed the movies based off his works (Kubrick’s The Shining is still my favorite horror movie), I’ve only ever been able to read one King book all the way to end. That was The Eyes of the Dragon and I almost didn’t finish it. My issue with King is his writing style. I simply don’t care for it. Or, I didn’t when I tried reading it as a kid. Maybe I should try again but that’s not my point.
My point is: if you’re expecting me to compare It 2 with the book, you’re in for a disappointment. I understand that some sequences from the book were changed for the sake of the movie. I don’t know what those sequences are and I don’t care enough to do research. I’m sure there are other reviews that do a more in-depth analysis.
What Did I Dislike?
I didn’t know the movie was nearly three hours until someone got confused and wandered into the wrong auditorium. She asked if this was the 3:40 showing. No, it was the 1:40 showing. After she and her friend left, I checked my phone and realized why it felt like the movie was going on forever. It had been over two hours and we were nowhere near the climax.
The movie, for me, dragged. Essentially, flashbacks of the kids-now-adults retold the first movie. And all so they could get “tokens” for a Native American ritual. By the time Eddie was having his freak out in the basement of the pharmacy, I was ready to go home. That, actually, was when I went to visit the restroom.
While the flashbacks helped us to remember who everyone was, and why we should care about them, they slowed down the pace of the movie. There were so many kids to get through, and all the flashbacks followed the same formula, that it was simply boring. Furthermore, I wasn’t interested in these characters as children. They were adults now. I wanted to know what happened between their leaving Derry and their return.
The gay man with the stereotypical unisex name, complete with stereotypical behavior. (Also, every time his partner shouted “Adrian”, I kept expecting Rocky Balboa to suddenly appear.)
The Native Americans as the “mystical other” with the “hidden knowledge” and ritual for ultimately defeating the enemy. (This is racist, by the way.)
The Black man who conveys the ritual to his friends like the “exotic other” stereotype that Blacks have been used for ad nauseum. (This is also racist.) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark actually did a good job in reversing that stereotype.
The fat kid loses all his weight and gets shredded, thereby allowing him to finally get the girl he had a crush on way back in middle school. (This is hilarious given the moral of the movie is supposed to be “be yourself”. I’m not saying losing weight is a bad thing. It’s good. Obesity leads to all sorts of health problems. At the same time, I just want the fat guy to get with the hot chick and it not be a comedy. We still deserve romantic love while being overweight.)
I get that horror movies rely on stereotypes and tropes. Some of these movies use these tropes to their advantage by reversing them or playing off them. The Cabin in the Woods is an excellent example. But It 2 didn’t do that and it was disappointing.
It Wasn’t Scary
You know why Jaws was so effective as a horror movie? Other than playing on our instinctual fear of deep, dark water and predators? Because you didn’t see the shark, really see it, until the final third of the movie. Up until then, you only get flashes. You see the victims and the blood in the water. You might see a flash of dorsal fin and tail, as well as the eye, but you don’t see the shark until much later.
That’s because not seeing the danger heightens the fear of it. Your mind begins creating your own mental image of it. You start watching for it in anticipation. You look for its signs.
In It 2 , you see Pennywise far too much. He stops being scary because you know the moment his face appears on screen, something is about to happen. We already know how he works from the first movie, so the anticipation doesn’t lie in “will the character survive this” but “how much blood and grossness am I about to witness?”
The only time I jumped during It 2 was during the jump scares. And that was only instinct.
What Did I Like?
Watching James McAvoy, even when he’s in a dumpster fire of a film, is always a delight.
It 2 dragged on for too long. It resorted to jump scares and gore to elicit fear, which just didn’t work for me. Many of the sequences were too ludicrous or comical to be frightening. Stereotypes took what could have been well-rounded interactions and characters and rendered them flat.
Lots of people are enjoying It 2. And that’s great. But, for me, that was two hours and fifty minutes I will never get back.