It is an adaptation of one of Stephen King’s most famous novels, and it is about a group of middle school students who discover a string of strange events throughout their town’s history. These events start-up again, and they work as a team to track down the source of the problem. Also, there’s a clown.
It was surprisingly one of my most anticipated movies of the year. I’m usually not a big fan of horror movies. I appreciate them, but they’re just not for me. However, something about this film intrigued me more than the average horror film. The trailers were super creepy, and I just gravitated to them for some odd reason.
The movie is mainly driven by the kids and their experience with the disappearances that all link to a clown. There’s always apprehension when it comes to child actors as there are numerous examples of them who couldn’t pull off their roles. Thankfully, all of the child actors in It do a fantastic job. There were many of them so I can’t talk about all of them, but there were some standouts that are definitely worth mentioning. Jeremy Ray Taylor was great as the heart of the group, Sophia Lillis handled her character’s situation at home very well, Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things plays a completely different type of character than he does in the show, and he surprisingly creates one of my favorite characters in the movie. Jack Dylan Grazer has a lot of lines in the movie, which could have gone south, and delivers all of them smoothly. Jayden Lieberher probably had the toughest job out of the kids, I won’t spoil why he does, but he really plays it realistically. You’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the movie, I just don’t want to go too far into detail.
Not only are the performances great, but the relationship between the kids is just as fantastic. The kids the movie focuses on are in a group called the Loser’s Club, and as you would imagine they are the nerds of the school. Almost all of the kids’ characters are firmly established. They all have unique personalities and dialogue traits which is what makes It special. Many horror movies rely on jump scares and cheap tactics to grab audiences, whereas It introduces interesting characters so you care when they are put into the terrifying situations. Hopefully the success of the film will help other studios see what makes the movie work and implement those things in their films.
Every horror movie requires an element that gives it credibility as “horror”, and It has quite the scare as its villain. Bill Skarsgård plays Pennywise the clown, and leading up to the release of the film many fans wondered if Pennywise would turn out being too silly, or legitimately haunting. Thankfully, it is more of the latter. Surprisingly, Pennywise is absent for much of the film because he can only be seen if he wants to, but when he happens to be on-screen it creates an extremely creepy atmosphere. Tim Curry’s performance in the 1990 TV miniseries will never be forgotten, however Skarsgård takes the clown to a new level that we haven’t seen before. The thing that makes it work is that he goes really far with the character, but doesn’t take it too far to where is humorous. He finds the perfect balance to where you can put yourself in the characters’ shoes and feel for them.
Skarsgård isn’t only that makes the film work, the movie also looks beautiful. While that might be a strange term for the type of movie this is, the film is shot magnificently. The cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung transports you into the world of Derry in 1989. Side note: look in the background during the movie, there are some cool 1989 easter eggs on the streets that you would probably like to see.
It does have great characters, however some are given significantly more attention than others. One of the characters is named Stan, and you only remember him as the Jewish kid. Unfortunately, Mike is given even less to do, and that was really ad because Chosen Jacobs did a fantastic job whenever he was given a chance to shine. Also, when adapting a book to film, one of the most difficult things is deciding what to include and what to exclude in the movie. It is over a thousand pages, so the writers had no easy task with the film. The movie only adapts the first half of the novel; however, the film does feel like it’s telling an incomplete story. Certain aspects of the film aren’t expanded upon like I would imagine they are in the book. For example, a character makes a certain decision late in the movie, and that moment didn’t quite feel earned like the filmakers were tying to. One last thing, this isn’t quite a negative, but the movie wasn’t exactly scary. Don’t get me wrong, the clown was extremely creepy in all of his scenes. At the same time, I wasn’t given nightmares from the film. Keep in mind, I’m not easily scared, so that might have something to do with it. So, if you get like getting scared and you get scared easily, the film might do its job for you.
It is a horror film that expands the genre, not by relying on scaring the audience, but by giving you gravitating characters that give the film a strong emotional core that makes it stand out. Andy Muschietti established an immersive world that left me wanting more. I definitely recommend seeing It if you haven’t yet.
What did you think of It? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Also, what movie do you want me to review next? Leave any suggestions in the comments.
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