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What Horror Fans Really Think Of It: Chapter 2

When Andy Muschietti's adaptation of Stephen King's iconic creep show of a novel It hit theaters in 2017, it did so with tempered anticipation. Horror fans anxiously awaited the first big-screen version of the story after a very public shake-up in the director's chair left its makeup seriously in question. But when the harrowing tale of a grotesque killer clown terrorizing the children of a small town in Maine finally made its way to multiplexes, trepidation gave way to almost universal acclaim, with Muschietti delivering a tender-hearted and surprisingly faithful adaptation of King's masterwork with gore and scares to burn.

Of course, by the time It: Chapter 1 became the surprise blockbuster of 2017, Muschietti was already prepping to continue the twisted tale of Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård) and the Losers Club in It: Chapter 2. Production on It's second act moved forward and enthusiasm for the film reached a fever pitch as talents like Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Bill Hader (Barry), and James McAvoy (Split) were lined up for the film's adult cast. Muschietti later confirmed Chapter 2 would indeed tackle some of the book's more challenging narrative endeavors. 

Unlike the original, however, when It: Chapter 2 arrived in theaters, it did so with loftier expectations than arguably any genre film of the last decade. While It: Chapter 2 managed to fare better at the box office (per Box Office Mojo) than it did with critics (per Rotten Tomatoes), a recent Dreadit thread is proof positive that horror fans were far less frightened by Pennywise and the gang the second time around.

Horror fans were less than impressed by It: Chapter 2

Per that Dreadit thread, it seems even fans who loved the first chapter of It had little love for the followup, with the O.G. poster Mrmanticore2 titling the thread "It Chapter 2 is an incredible disappointment," before taking the film to task. Waves of damning posts followed, with Spacepants chiming in to say, "It's terrible, instead of sticking to the source material they catered to the non horror fan base," and Molotok_c_518 claiming the film was simply uninspired and "Chapter 2 just seemed lazy."

User GloriousHam backed that thought up, specifically blaming a lack of narrative ambition for It: Chapter 2's failures. "Why even bother with a mystical aspect if you're only going to go halfway with it? Just some truly rushed and mind boggling choices made for the movie." Per user MrH4v0k, the film's overuse of CGI was also deeply problematic. "My biggest issue with chapter 2 is the CGI. I hate overly used CGI in horror. It's not scary or even remotely disturbing." MissLady85 clearly agreed, offering, "As soon as I saw the weird bug thing with a baby head I couldn't take anything seriously after that."

MissLady85 wasn't the only viewer who had trouble taking It: Chapter 2 seriously, as Eddible and several other posters noted the film's perpetually shifting tone was particularly off-putting. "Part 2 was just tonally all over the place. There were sections of part 2 that made it seem like a comedy at times. It was weird." Meanwhile, Dreaditor Mrmanticore2 took matters to the extreme, claiming the 1990s CBS miniseries actually bested the big-screen version. "I know it's unpopular but I still think the miniseries is better."

That's harsh criticism indeed. But it's also hard to argue It: Chapter 2 didn't underwhelm in certain ways — even if it still provided a handful of nightmare-inducing moments.