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THE MOVIE GUY — ‘It’ leaves the Movie Guy cold

"It: Chapter Two”

New Line Cinema

Rated R

2 ½ Stars

I was a voracious reader of everything that Stephen King wrote when I was younger, but I dropped that habit when I moved out of the country in the mid-eighties. That explains why I never got around to reading “It,” which is arguably one of King’s best novels.

That might also explain why I don’t really connect strongly with the story of “It.” Sure, I enjoyed the 1990 miniseries as well as the 2016 movie for its creepy plot and the chemistry between the young cast, but I didn’t think that either project was all that special.

I was obviously mistaken.

The last film went on to gross more than $700,000,000 worldwide and predictably spawned a sequel, “It: Chapter Two,” which arrives in theaters this weekend. Box office projections are through the roof as King’s fans are champing at the bit to revisit this beloved story.

Truth be told, I too was excited to see “It 2.” I gave the movie my best shot.

“It” still leaves me cold.

The story catches up with the Loser’s Club members, bringing them back together 27 years after the events of the first film. They thought that they had beaten the evil shape-shifting creature back when they were teens, but when the monster reappears, the group takes up their blood-oath and returns to their hometown to fight.

So far, so good. There is some fun found in watching how these hapless teens have grown up, particularly in noting how the trauma of their young lives have gone on to color their adult personalities. It’s also quite fun to find that these nerdy kids are now being played by a very notable assortment of famous actors. (James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader and Isiah Mustafa in particular).

The acting/casting is pitch perfect, especially Bill Hader who is quickly becoming someone who’s more known for his recent serious roles than his Saturday Night Live comedic past. It’s no small compliment to say that he steals the show when you consider that he’s up against acting powerhouses like Chastain and McAvoy.

Unfortunately, in my opinion, the movie needs more than famous actors. I simply don’t find the monster (Bill Skarsgård) to be that scary. Consequently, there just aren’t many genuine scares in this movie. There is a slowly building tension that works, but as the movie runs just shy of three hours, it’s a very long slog to get to the frights.

Ultimately, I found “It 2” to be over-long, over-stuffed, only slightly scary and more than a little bit pretentious. I don’t actively dislike the film, but neither would it be a hearty recommendation for my friends who are horror fanatics.

Then again, so many people disagree with my assessment of the original film, so they might still get a kick out of the sequel, but “It” just doesn’t scare me, which is a pretty big problem in such a notable horror flick.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are each week in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@sbgtv.com.