Every scary story you’ve ever read or heard was so scary because of the unknown. Because of the thing that went bump in the night, because of what might be hiding behind a closed door, or because of the noise you heard in the darkness. We are visual beings and once we’ve seen something, we can then perceive, with certainty, if it’s still scary; if we should run, stand our ground, fight, stab, shoot, etc. Scary creatures on film will be infinitely different (ie. more disappointing) than what you could possibly imagine from a book. Once you see what a visual creator could imagine and bring to life, it will always be different. Will it be scarier? That’s up to you.
If IT Chapter 2 were a carnival haunted house, with unknown terrors lurking behind every corner and closed door, you’d get your money’s worth. Not only that, you’d enjoy plenty of laughs thanks to the addition of SNL alum Bill Hader. Just like a haunted house, some scares are more effective than others, and some themes are reminiscent of movies you’re familiar with, like The Shining, The Thing, Nightmare on Elm Street, and Carrie. You’ll see them all in IT Chapter 2, which might make its nearly 3-hour running time worthwhile.
The best parts of IT Chapter 2 are the relationships between the now-adult “Losers” featured in IT (Chapter 1). The kids are grown, but Pennywise is still up to his childish ass tricks. The worst parts include other characters featured in Chapter 1, which the film could’ve easily done without. Was it really scary? No. But some scenes were shocking while others were hilarious. Did the film need James McAvoy? Not at all, but there he was.
If you want to see it, first, think of the scariest thing you can, and then forget it. Let IT take your imagination away.
IT Chapter 2: 2 of 4 stars. See it if you liked the first IT and you have 3 hours to spare.