In this follow-up sequel to 2017’s mega-hit re-imagining of the Stephen King classic (wow, that was a mouthful), it’s been 27 years since The Losers’ Club defeated Pennywise in the sewers ... or so they thought.
Now, he’s come back and is devouring people again.
Mike has been patiently waiting and watching for evidence of his return and contacts the rest of the group immediately, so they can all make good on their promise to come back and fight him again.
But, somehow, their memories have all been wiped clean. They’ll have to relearn who they are and what happened all those years ago, if they are going to band together to defeat this evil, once and for all.
Visually, this film is impressive. The monsters all look amazing, as do the makeup, actors and locations. The constant flashing back between the past and present was carefully planned and carried out.
Some of the CGI got a little silly looking, at times. It didn’t quite live up to its predecessor, in that respect.
The kids from the first one all return for this one, in way more screentime than I expected, thankfully.
They are the best part of this story. The film boasted some big names playing the grown-up version of the kids, but for the most part, this was a waste of budget dollars.
James McAvoy’s amazing talents were wasted on the underdeveloped Bill. Jessica Chastain was decent as Beverly, but she could have been played by lots of other actresses. Bill Hader was one of the brightest spots, turning in a hilariously vulgar and spirited performance as Richie. Isaiah Mustafa, James Ransone and Jay Ryan were all decent in their roles.
In fact, it was all the guys that aren’t mega-stars that carried the story.
Of course, Bill Skarsgard returns to play the perfect Pennywise (say that three times fast). He is truly the most entertaining part of this film. I can’t help but love him, he turns in such an inspired and creepy performance.
It should be noted, that while some of the acting was just so-so, the actors all looked like their younger counterparts to an awe-inspiring degree. Whoever was in charge of finding their look-alikes deserves a hefty raise.
This film is very violent, with plenty of gore. There are stabbings, children eaten, body parts dismembered, a gay couple is viciously beaten and a woman is violently beaten by her husband.
There is a ridiculous amount of language, most of it quite severe. There is no nudity, but quite a bit of sexual innuendo and joking. There is some drinking, smoking (by teens, as well) and a drug-induced vision.
This film wasn’t as scary as the first half, but was more story-driven this time around. It lacked the polish and direction of the other one.
The plot seemed to be all over the place. It just seemed like they were coming up with plot as they went, not working toward the end and filling in the puzzle as they went. There were so many elements that got suddenly thrown in that they ended up not making much sense with the story.
And, although the end was slightly more satisfying than the old ABC mini-series, it was still pretty cheesy and way too easy. I think we tried to add too much in and didn’t have time to properly explore all the elements. Even at three hours, it seemed rushed.
Sidenote: When I took my nieces, hoping to watch them have mini heart attacks like the last time, I was disappointed to how unaffected they were, this time around.
Of course, they are a little older and desensitized to Pennywise and his antics. Perhaps, somewhere out there, is some younger child that got talked into seeing it and it wrecked their world. Which has now become my hallmark for a good horror movie.
I give it an underwhelmed 7.5/10.
This is only safe for older teens and adults. Do not take your young kids to this movie. Are you nuts?
Rating: a definite R for disturbing content and bloody images, language and crude sexual humor
Run time: didn’t feel like 169 minutes