It’s one thing for a group of untried kid actors to take out a hydrocephaloid sewer clown. It was, by all accounts, a scarefree nap, but at best there was something this clown-hater found intrinsically inviting about the kids-in-peril novelty it waved. But watching a group of (mostly) well-paid (mostly) familiar faces, playing the tykes' adult counterparts and all banding together to expunge an all-encompassing evil has become a bi-weekly occupational hazard. Not more than 15 minutes into this three hour nightmare of a sequel and we’ve already witnessed a lethal display of “fag bashing,” topped by an unsuccessful rape attempt. (With humanity in such a horrifying state of moral decrepitude, how scary can one clown be?) For a film to lead with double-barreled anti-bullying messages, you’ll be shocked to learn how our little Bozo is finally subdued. Pennywise clowned foolish — his one notable personality trait is dining on children’s faces — but was not as unwise as Bill Hader’s flailing attempt at comic relief. Good news: Peter Bogdanovich picked up a day’s pay playing himself. Awful truth: Bogdanovich is a director, not a glorified in-joke. (2019) — Scott Marks
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