Does Pennywise’s Haunt Live Up to His First?


Anjali Caliguiri, Reporter

America’s favorite dancing clown returns in theaters in a sequel to the chilling horror film: It Chapter 2.
The “Losers” reunite in their frightening town of Derry, Maine, 27 years later to defeat the evil, bloodthirsty Pennywise. After watching this eagerly anticipated film, in comparison to the first, I rate it 6.5/10.
*SPOILERS AHEAD* A quick synopsis:

Picking up in Derry, Pennywise makes himself known by claiming his next victims in gruesome attacks; Mike, the only one of the seven who remained in town, anxiously preparing for the clown’s return, immediately alerts the others to unite. The gang must reunite to defeat Pennywise once and for all while conquering their worst fears that were buried in Derry. After each member confronts the worst parts of their past to claim a token from their fears, the group performs a ritual attempting to rid the town of Pennywise. The ritual captures the three dead lights, the source of Pennywise’s power, and the crew is relieved when the deed is done. But the three-hour flic would not be to its full extent if the clown did not make one last appearance, sending each member into an escape room of their worst fears. Reuniting in the end, the club belittles Pennywise into thinking he is nothing but a whim and has no power over them, literally deflating the clown until he perishes.

Some points as to why I feel it deserves 6.5:

The positives:

-The casting was perfect; the actors and actress were mirror images of what the members would look like. The characters were developed brilliantly, and the relationships between them felt genuine. Actors such as Bill Hader, playing Richie, and James Ranson, playing Eddie, have enjoyable banter and humor throughout the film, making them the best characters in my opinion.
-The film offered an interesting perspective of how the clown came to be which enriched the plot.
-The character Bill grows up to become a proclaimed horror author and his inability to write decent endings is continuously brought up to mock the ending of this film.
-A cameo was made by the author Stephen King himself, which was a cool feature.
-Although all jump scares, the scene with the old lady was still absolutely frightening; the actress portrays a level of uneasiness and fear that makes the scene unforgettable.

The negatives:
-The scare factor of the film was mediocre; compared to the first movie, the majority of the scares were jump scares as opposed to the first film’s strategic psychological scares that were meant to instill the fear Pennywise feeds off of.
-I was disappointed in the lack of the use of Pennywise’s signature red balloon. It appears a few times during the movie, a waterfall of red balloons, a red balloon alerting Henry Bowers (Pennywise’s “puppet”) and a final enormous red balloon at the ritual. The first film used the red balloon to create fear in the viewers as they knew the character was walking into a deadly Pennywise encounter, such as the red balloon in the library alerting the watchers of Ben’s upcoming scare.

-THE ENDING: Personally, the ending is where I take the most points off; the idea of making Pennywise feel “small” by bullying and belittling him was a major fault in the film. The characters threw out phrases such as, “You’re nothing but a clown” in an attempt to show the clown they are no longer giving him the power to torment them anymore. After the bullying and harassment, Pennywise deflated like a balloon and was weakened to the point that they were able to kill him. The lame, inadequate ending did not live up to the immense anticipation the film had created for it.

In conclusion, the film had some frightening jump scares and Pennywise is still bound to create some spooks, but in comparison to the first, “It’s” horrifying reputation is tainted from the sequel.