Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, IT tells the story of a group of children who must overcome their fears in order to take on the clown straight from Wal-Mart during Black Friday, Pennywise. IT stars Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Olef and Bill Skarsgard and is directed by Andrés “Andy” Muschietti (Mama).
My Thoughts On The Characters And Story
Let me preface this by saying the original Tim Curry-led IT miniseries from 1990 single handedly made me as terrified of clowns as I am today. I’m sure there are plenty of happy clowns floating about that demand to be taken seriously and to them I say, Godspeed.
This iteration of IT features a group of young friends that I absolutely adored watching. I honestly expected to be tired of them as the film progressed because kids in movies can certainly become an annoying nuisance, however each kid had their own distinctive characteristics that made them feel like an actual person and not a boring stereotype. Lead Jaeden Lieberher who plays Bill, brother to Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), does a fantastic job in portraying a heartbroken older brother determined to figure out what happened to his adorable brother.
While every respective kid actor did a great job, the standout for me was Mr. Eddie Hypochondriac Kaspbrak fantastically portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer. While every kid served their role well, Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard particularly as the constant comic relief, Grazer’s dialogue and the way he delivers these lines – whether it be humourous (and he is hilarious when the script calls for it) or absolutely terrified, Grazer is incredible. I honestly didn’t expect to laugh as much as I did, it was quite the pleasant surprise.
The overall camaraderie between each member of the Losers Club was incredibly enjoyable to watch as well. The backstory for lone female Loser Beverly (Sophia Lillis) enthralled me because of how well Lillis interacted with her on-screen father despite the fact that they only had a few scenes together.
The 1990 adaptation featured a group of adults coming together to fight off IT and their respective childhoods are depicted through flashbacks. This adaptation is told in real time during the 1980s and I quite enjoyed seeing that change. It allowed for the audience to grow attached to the characters while remaining unsure of who may succumb to IT’s it-ness.
I was intrigued with the horror aspect of the film mostly because of how it affected the kids in the group. Pennywise himself (Bill Skarsgard) did have his moments where he got me, however his overall frightfulness kind of depleted as the film progressed. The sequences which called for a child to be face-to-face with the Clown were easily the most terrifying moments. One particular scene featuring Bill in the cellar was the highlight of the film because of the intimate feeling of it, you could feel Pennywise’s presence however not being able to see him or looking around the screen for him was why I enjoyed that scene as much as I did. When you’re faced with an evil entity, the less you see them the more terrified you become.
The other bombastic horror scenes resorted to the quiet music… thencomesthe WHUPPAH! that plagues many horror films although I will say there were one or two moments that didn’t utilize the cheap scare and even a few that utilized it well. The opening Georgie scene was brilliant and definitely made me feel a bit unnerved, SPOILER I did not expect that thing with the arm at all. I don’t know how I feel about the unexpected silliness of it because on one
arm hand, a little kid getting his arm torn off by a crazy clown’s teeth is horrifying yet I think leaving it up to the viewer’s imagination would’ve been a better idea. END SPOILER.
I don’t know how many audiences are expecting the graphic visual imagery of it but I was relishing in all that gory goodness. When disturbing and (somewhat) gross elements are introduced in a film and it’s executed correctly, not solely relying on gore porn, it enhances the flick immensely since you don’t want to watch what’s on screen because of the terrifying imagery, not because you’re grossed out that someone’s limb is torn off. There was one specific moment, however, involving stabs to the stomach that were seemingly played off like it was nothing.
How Were The Other Aspects Of IT?
It’s astounding to me that this is only director Andy Muschietti’s second theatrical release. Certain sequences were shot as if it were a hardened veteran behind the lens and I appreciated his interest in occasionally thinking outside the box. The brief opening title card got a whoa out of me.
IT is a gorgeous looking film, all the vibrant colours featured in the lived-in environment and the fearful moments were stunning to look at. I do think the final battle was a bit muddled and the quick cuts made it a bit difficult to know what was going on in certain points. With how visually pleasing virtually all of the film was, something should’ve been done about the occasional bursts of loudness heard in certain sequences… Can’t hate on the audio too much though. The New Kids On The Block love featured in IT was a-mazing. You know you’re a cover girl when you can insert random NKOTB songs in whatever sentences happen to arise… 🙂
If you’re looking for a wildly enjoyable horror flick to watch with a bunch of friends who suffer from coulrophobia, check out IT.
IT receives 3.5/5 Matt Damon heads.
featured image credit: warner bros.