IT is a Great Movie, Just Not a Scary One
"Oh yes, Georgie, they float."
Last night, I got to check out the latest adaptation and first feature-length film version of Stephen King's IT. The book is one of King's most beloved works and the 1990 mini-series holds a special place in a lot of hearts as the cause for their fear of clowns. This was one of the most anticipated movies of the year, so how did it turn out?
At this point, everyone is at least vaguely familiar with Pennywise the Dancing Clown, The Losers Club, and the murders in Derry, Maine. Every 27 years an evil entity rises out of the sewers to claim child victims before going into hibernation again. This time, the targets are the 7 kids that make up "The Losers Club," a group of kids that bond together after they are all bullied by the same group of kids. As the movie unfolds, Pennywise targets each of the children by appearing as their biggest fears in order to ripen them for feeding. Most of these nightmare visions are pretty creepy and the film does a good job offering a variety of different fears for the kids to see. The only downside to all of this, is that while creepy, the movie never fully hits the pants-crapping level of terror I was expecting.
One of the biggest issues is that most of the films scariest parts were given away in the trailers and the film relies heavily on jump-scares that are often telegraphed and lose their oomph. The film goes to the well (pun intended) a few too many times on Pennywise going scary face and lunging towards the camera. It's creepy when you see it at the end of the trailer, but it loses the effect when the film does it a half-dozen times. The film's use of CGI for Pennywise wasn't terrible, but was distracting at times. Anytime I felt like Bill Skarsgard was really getting into Pennywise, I was taken out of the scene by the use of CGI. Luckily, whenever this happened, the wonderful cast of children brought it back.
The kids in the film are definitely the stars. I think it's kind of great how IT was one of the inspirations for Stranger Things and how you could see the influence of that show on this latest adaptation. It's worth noting that Finn Wolfhard, who plays Mike in Stranger Things, is also in this film. It was a brilliant move by the producers to moves this film from the original 1950's setting into the,1980's considering how hot 80's' nostalgia is right now. I felt like all of the kids felt like actual kids that you could find hanging around your neighborhood. You felt their sense of friendship which made you root for them more. My only fear with this is that we loved these kids so much, we might not accept their adult counterparts in the second part of the series.
Overall, I think IT is definitely one of the Top 5 movies of the year. It's a movie I really want to see again and think that Stephen King should be (and is) proud of this adaptation. The film might not have scared me, but it is scary good.