Scary is a spectrum. Or even more of an alignment graph, I suppose, if you want to be more "Tumblr meme" about it. It (now retroactively titled It Chapter One, with It Chapter Two out now) was a fun, cute coming-of-age movie with a flesh-eating clown at its center, with surprising amounts of gore and plenty of jump scares. But the general consensus was, as much of a blast all that is, it wasn't the kind of film to strike fear into the fearless; to leave you up at night scanning the corners of your bedroom for Bill Skarsgård.
So is It Chapter Two more of the same, or has it learned from the shakier parts of its predecessor?
Give it to me straight: Am I going to jump out of my seat and look like an idiot?
Chapter One had some good scares. Pennywise popping out of the projector screen? Instantly iconic. Six-year-old Georgie savagely dismembered in the street in the film's opening scene? That was a "we're not f****** around here" moment that took even genre fans by surprise in its cruelty.
Not so much in Chapter Two. I can't think of a single jump scare that isn't heavily telegraphed. I lost count of the number of times it deploys the age-old "swell of music, beat of silence, BOO!" trick. It seems the majority of the film's creative energy was poured into fantastical sci-fi set pieces more than scares.
Will it keep me up at night?
Even if you hate clowns with a burning passion, Pennywise is less of a presence in the second film, with Skarsgård having to cut back on screen time due to the new influx of A-listers to the movie's cast list. Moreover, all the creepier sequences are undercut by someone firing off a zinger anyway.
I hate blood!
If you mean you hate gore, there's not much to hate in Chapter Two either. It takes some disgusting forms, but mostly high school disgusting: Like, a pus-leaking leper. Beverly, to her chagrin, is nearly drowned in blood in a later sequence. But it's not really coming from anywhere, so it may as well be Dr. Pepper.
Is it a graveyard smash?
What is it with multimillion-dollar movies that can create anything they could possibly dream of, and it turns out the designer's dreams are mostly nondescript grey CGI creatures with big teeth? Pennywise's final form is almost laughable, and far less scary than Pennywise 1.0. There are a couple of good creations, including a nicely-realised homage to The Thing. But the painted clown himself remains the movie's most interesting, and disturbing, creation.
Get over yourself and rate the film on a scale of 1-5 for scariness, already.
Two "Bill Hader is really good in this but what's the deal with people saying he should get an Oscar for this? C'mon, guys."s out of five.