I don’t remember the last time a horror movie had as much hype as IT. I am here to say that IT pretty much lives up to the hype. There are a few issues, but overall it is a fantastic mixture of horror and comedy, which I did not expect. Just a disclaimer, I did not read the book.
A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.
Bill Skarsgard is creepy as hell with his relentless performance of Pennywise the Clown. From the opening boat scene with him and Georgie, you’re immediately drawn into his menacing gaze. Director Andy Muschietti does a great job with his vision of Pennywise in IT. Every time he is on screen you can’t look away, no matter how bad you want to. The imagery expressed with Pennywise coupled with his eerie voice and inhuman characteristics makes him one of the best antagonists of 2017.
One of my philosophies with movies is that a movie is only as good as its characters. This is where most horror movies nowadays falter: As a viewer, you rarely care about the characters. It has become expected with 85% of modern horror films. Character development and a likable ensemble is what really separates IT from most horror flicks that come out today. A lot of time is spent on the kids in IT, showing them get bullied and deal with various problems at home. Most notable are Sophia Lillis as a charismatic Beverly and Jaeden Lieberher as a troubled, yet determined Bill. All of the performances from the kids are so impressive though, and it is nice to see such great chemistry between all these young talents. Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) completely steals the show with his witty dialogue and hilarious demeanor.
Let’s talk about the scares. Overall, I would say IT is more creepy than scary. If you’re afraid of clowns, you may have a different opinion. But the movie had some hair-raising scenes as a deranged Pennywise made a dash towards a terrified child of Derry. The only issue I had is that there was one too many jump scares. IT was expected to have some, and most are not a huge issue. However, in the third act there were a few jump scares that I think the movie could have done without.
I mentioned earlier about how IT had extremely satisfying character development. This may be true, but I do think there were a few characters that didn’t get developed as much as others did. I understand that this movie deals with a lot of characters in all, so leaving a few of them on the back burner was bound to happened. On the contrary, if you’re going to be a movie that establishes itself by developing your characters well, then you should do it to all of them.
The cinematography and use of dutch angles really made IT even scarier. Some of the camera moves were very striking and attention-grabbing. That combined with the spooky lighting and distinctive set design made IT really interesting to look at. Adding to that, I will predict that IT will get an Oscar Nomination for Best Hair and Makeup. The close-ups of Pennywise blew me away.
Overall, IT is a scary good time. I really hope future horror movies will take some notes from Andy Muschietti’s poised vision. The horror genre doesn’t have to be lazy and uninspiring, and movies like IT are the proof. Go check it out in theaters and prepare to have Pennywise haunt your dreams.