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September 27th, 2023

it chapter 2 spotlight pageCourtesy photoELLY GRIMM • Leader & Times


About a year ago, I wrote a review on here after my first time seeing the “It” film remake and this past weekend, after what seemed like an interminable wait, I made my way to the movie theater in town to see its sequel, “It: Chapter 2.” Having not seen the miniseries or read the book (which is on my to-do list in the future), I had little idea what to expect. 

The movie takes place 27 years after the events of the first movie and follows the grown up Loser’s Club (portrayed by  Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean) as they return to their hometown of Derry, Maine to put a stop once and for all to It a.k.a. Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). 

One of the first things I have to give praise to is the casting for this movie, because they cast the adult Loser’s Club members PERFECTLY, particularly Hader as the grown-up (and still foul-mouthed) Ritchie Tozier. Hader’s performance is so good, I would almost believe he was legitimately the adult version of Finn Wolfhard, who plays the younger version of Ritchie. All the other actors were also very well chosen and I was very impressed with how well everyone was cast. Skarsgård turned in another great performance as Pennywise/It and I was glad we got to see some more of him in the movie compared to the first movie, which was one of the minor quibbles I had with it. I’d like to see him get (at the very least) a nomination for at least a Golden Globe, because he did too well in this role to not be recognized for it. 

Another thing I have to mention is the overall design of the movie. Throughout the movie we see the Losers fight some of their worst nightmares and the overall feel is very creepy, and all of the effects used while these nightmares are being dealt with are very creatively designed thanks to director Andy Muschietti’s eye for creativity and detail. That being said, however, there were times where that detail and the CGI for some of those effects was almost TOO over the top, which somewhat took away from the movie. And because of that CGI overuse, I actually wasn’t really scared of It’s final form during the final fight with the Losers. Overall, the design was very creative, but there were definitely some things that could have been toned down. One of the things that was so awesome about the first film was the emphasis on more practical effects, and I wish this movie had stuck more with that path because I feel like horror movies do a lot better with the “less is more” philosophy – and the most terrifying things aren’t always the things we CAN see. 

Another thing I liked about the movie was how while it is primarily a horror movie, there is also the right amount of humor spread throughout (thanks mostly to Hader and his exceptional comic timing) to help the movie not be solely a slasher flick. And it’s all blended together really well and lightens the mood just enough to make the movie even more enjoyable. 

Another thing I’ve got to give a lot of praise to from the movie is the musical score because it fit every moment so well, so much so that I was actually more scared of the music at certain points than I was of the actual scare(s) going on onscreen. It may be because of my band background that I notice things like that, but if you do happen to go see this movie in the theater, be sure to give the musical score some love too. 

I also liked how each of the Losers had their own spotlight at certain points in the movie as we follow them on their individual journeys throughout. Given how this is an ensemble movie, I always enjoy seeing the individual characters get some attention and have the focus on them for a little bit. That being said, however, this also detracts from the overall movie in a few small ways since there are so many detours to follow as we go with each of the characters, and I think this is part of the reason for the movie’s length, which I also had some qualms with (it’s nearly three hours long). They ultimately all meet up again, but it feels like it takes too long to get there. As far as the length, I feel if there were about 20-25 minutes shaved off, it would have been perfect. I also felt the final third of the movie somewhat went off the rails in terms of story and everything else – everything ultimately gets back on track and settles down, but it’s a shaky landing. 

I would also urge parents out there to not let children see this movie – the deaths at It’s hands are extremely gruesome and there’s also a suicide scene roughly 30 minutes into the movie, so this is definitely NOT a suitable movie for younger viewers. 

All in all, however, I did enjoy “It: Chapter 2” and felt it was a solid movie. The cast did a great job, the overall design was very creatively done, and I would give the movie a “B-minus.” If you’re a fan of the horror movie genre and/or liked the first movie, there’s a good chance you’ll like “It: Chapter 2.” The movie’s rated R for disturbing violent content and bloody images throughout, pervasive language, and some crude sexual material.