IT Movie Review
Modern horror does nothing for me. I see horror after horror hoping to actually be frightened and all I end up with is disappointment. That being said, Andy Muschiatti's updated adaptation of Stephen King's masterpiece IT was a terrifying experience. It was truly frightening in many places, but unfortunately the film is riddled with unnecessary insertions and omissions and modern horror clichés.
IT follows the lives of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are all stalked and haunted by an evil presence in the town. The presence, which the kids refer to as "It", takes the form of a clown to lure them toward him and can change its form into the things they fear most. The kids have to stick together and face their fears in order to beat It.
I need to go ahead and set the record straight. This adaptation is the closest one to the novel yet. I have all the respect in the world for the Tim Curry two-part miniseries but it tried to stuff too much info into a total three-hour timespan. This film took the right approach, telling the story of the kids when they're young then in the sequel telling the story of them as grown-ups. It allowed us to get to know the kids and relate to them and feel for them, something the miniseries lacked.
Bill Skarsgaard sold the role of Pennywise brilliantly. While Curry took the more friend-turned-psycho approach, Skarsgaard showed us that Pennywise was all evil and there's nothing to like about him. It gave us the Pennywise that the novel gave us: manipulative, terrifying, and seemingly unstoppable.
The kids were awesome. Each one was a piece of all of us. The one who has hidden bravery but doesn't know how to access it, the one who freaks out about everything, the one who feels he's not good enough, the one who likes a girl but is convinced she won't like him back, the one who tries too hard to be cool but is actually a scaredy-cat, the one who has an overprotective mom, and the one who is bullied daily because of a rumor. All of these kids together make a whole person and that's what is absolutely brilliant about them. They are relatable and you feel bad for them and root for them.
Now, for the negatives. There weren't too many negative issues with the film which was a relief. There were only two major problems. The first issue was the fact that it was riddled with modern horror clichés. Heard a noise? Better walk slowly towards it. The door creaked open? Better go inspect it. Stuff like that's been overdone. The second issue was the foul-mouthed Richie. He had more sex jokes in his head than Fast Times at Ridgemont High. He did not act like a kid. He acted like a lonely high school teen that's been denied by every girl so he makes up stories to sound cool. Go home, Richie, you're too loud.
In conclusion, beneath the mountain of clichés there's a brilliant film in there somewhere. I was impressed by It and can't wait for the sequel. I give the film a 3 out of 4.
© 2017 Alec Zander