After having declined all plans to do something over the summer with my friends due to location and time constraint reasons, I was feeling guilty. Plus, I was also bored and loaded. So, come Friday night on the 15th of September, I was ‘persuaded’ by a friend to go and watch the premier of the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s renowned novel ‘It’.
Feeling somewhat satisfied with the money I spent on the movie, I thought it’d be a good idea to review the movie since it’s all hip and trendy right now and could get me those sweet, sweet internet points.
Before I start, though, I’m going to have to say that I have not read the novel before and the only written King work I have read and thoroughly enjoyed is ‘The Last Stand’. The complete uncut edition, that is. As you can see, I am fairly familiar with King’s prose but not the work the movie I am reviewing is the adaptation of. In other words, you can expect an acute angled degree of non-bias here.
Let’s get it on with the plot.
Bill Denbrough’s younger brother, Georgie, is lured by and feasted upon by the town’s resident spooky scary clown from Hell who joyfully calls himself Pennywise. Pennywise rises up from bed once every 27 years for an all you can eat buffet with the menu being comprised of the town’s children. Bill ain’t having none of that shit and manages to coax his current and ‘to-be’ friends from ‘The Loser Club’ to beat the crap out of the demonic carnival junkie. That’s basically all you need to know about the plot. There’s not much going for the mystery aspect of the movie so saying any more will be just me flaunting distasteful spoilers.
Now, you probably might be wondering why the previous paragraph is rather whimsical. Or not. Well, you should now. For my sake, please. Anyways, it’s like that because It did not scare me at all.
Now what exactly is the point of a horror movie that does not even slightly unhinges you? There’s no point. It’s just a waste of time. But, thankfully, I was at least jeepered out a couple of times. Sadly, they were only few and far between the entire length of the 2 hours and 15 minutes duration. One of the most unsettling scenes for me was the rock throwing competition with such head-shots that 360noscope420blazeits would be put to shame. Realistic bodily harm fucks me up to no end.
Another scene, which is also hands down the best, was the bathroom one with Beverly. The timing, build-up and execution of that scene was just impeccable. Almost the entire theater was up and out of its seats. Hell, one friend had screamed like a little bitch while another had his mouth open – to shut a good long while after the scene changed to comment, “Now that’s going to be a classic.”
And that’s what really muffs me up about It. It had the potential to be absolutely terrifying but, it relied way too much on overused sound effects and plastic CGI. Whenever a jumpscare would pop up you’d know beforehand since ‘BWAAAAAAA BWAAAAA BWAAAAAAAAAAAH’ is apparently thought to be a great use of sound to create just that chilling atmosphere a horror movie needs. I have no issue with CGI in general, by the way. As long as it doesn’t look too blocky or unrealistic then CG and I are real good pals. I can not fathom why the people who worked on the movie felt the need to create a CGI balloon of all things. It just felt out of place a lot of times and not in the good sense either.
Otherwise, the cinematography and direction are pretty great. Scenes have weight and transitioning is smooth. There are still a couple of snags here and there. Though, they’re only noticeable to worrywarts. I expect the Blu-Ray release to have quite a number of extra scenes because of this.
For a movie that managed to cut a whole LOT of content to focus on the main evil I have to say that it did a nice job. There’s a reason why a large number of people claim It to be a good horror flick. It might not have scared me but it did manage to bag the audience with its repertoire of tried and tested jumpscares. I’m the kind of guy who doesn’t get spooked much by non-interactive media anyways. The creepiest movie I’ve watched in recent times is ‘The Taking of Deborah Logan’ that was released back in 2014. My all time favorite would be the 1986 remake of ‘The Fly’ starring Jeff Goldblum’s charming insanity. So you can take my review on the horror aspect with a grain of salt.
What you shouldn’t pour salt on, though, is my thought on the movie’s approach to comedy. This is a King movie – if you weren’t expecting comic relief delivered via some of the most left-field dialogue and visual gags imaginable then, I’m sorry, you should read at least one Stephen King book before leaving this world. You’ve got 12 year-olds shouting, “OOOOUWAHOhat the fuck?”, cracking dick jokes, taking jabs at adult ‘your mom’ jokes, pedophilic references, and even the damned clown eliciting a giggle or two with his antics. Honestly, if It was a full-blown parody then I would have given it an easy 9/10.
Finally, let’s talk about the characters and acting. As someone who went into the movie theater with the general expectations of King’s style for writing characters, I would have to say I was pleasantly surprised with how well they were brought to life on the big screen. Except for a few minor roles that serve to just advance the plot in the menial of ways imaginable, you probably won’t have any issues with the cast of It. All of the child actors can actually act! Along with that being a rare sight, it is also a dearly welcome one. You could actually feel the fear in their eyes. Especially Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak. The scene with him cowering before Pennywise as he played peek-a-boo was just right. Or maybe Pennywise’s actor was just that good.
Speaking of the devil: Pennywise. Also known as It and The Dancing Clown. A terrifying role comfortably and masterfully acted by Bill Skarsgard who made the character into his own. His gaze, speech, and even his drool (Was the drool animated, hmmm?) managed to create a deeply worrying clown. If they had toned down the CGI for Pennywise then he would truly have shone as a proper terror of the deep.
Nevertheless, It was still an interesting watch and I had fun with it. I look forward to the sequel which is actually the second half of the novel – or so I am told. For now, It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me. Score might drop if I read the novel. Which will be soon…