Remember that kitschy, naff film from the 1990s starring Tim Curry about a crazy clown called Pennywise? Well it’s been given the 2017 treatment, and this time somebody realised perhaps Stephen King’s novel IT deserves a more apt interpretation; one a little scarier, more suspenseful, and overall, traumatising.
If you forgot about the original perhaps that was a coping mechanism, out of fear or disappointment – well be prepared for 20 more years of nightmares because this movie is cerebral, thrilling, and pants-wettingly good.
Truly, I hate horror films. I think of them as theme park rides, where you go for an experience rather than to watch a story unfold, constantly on edge, looking for the jump-scare and holding on for the ride. Somehow, and thankfully so, not only is IT properly haunting, the script, acting and cinematography make this one of the best overall movies of the year, not just within its genre.
The chemistry between the leading actors is ridiculous, especially for a bunch of 12-year-olds. How they came out of this production without being permanently scarred is beyond me. Casting on point, and with a splendid script to boot, full of witty dialogue (that actually sounds like people talking), great comedic moments and character development with a Stranger Things-esque tone. I’d appreciate all that if I wasn’t so constantly spooked.
Now, Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise; the drooling, child taking demonic creature in clown make-up, transcends the role as he feeds on the fears of his victims and consumes them, with not much left to the imaginations as its all on screen in its visceral, gory detail – to the shocks and gasps of a live audience, magical and idiosyncratic to the cinema excursion experience.
Just a shame a bunch of selfish people had to ruin the ambience by talking – are they stupid or rude? The vibe is the key to enjoying a film, especially a thriller and nobody is paying to hear others talk over all the tense bits. It’s maddeningly frustrating to me and luckily the movie was so good, they eventually shut-up. (especially after me yelling at them).
That being said, all the stars were aligning for IT to be a success, adapted (and condensed well) from one of Stephen King’s best novels, Cary Fukunaga (from True Detective) on the screenplay and a relatively unknown director to set the bar low, so all we have to expect is suspense and surprise. How they couldn’t give The Dark Tower the same handling I’ll never know.
Doesn’t matter if you don’t like horror, or clowns, or Stephen King, or Stranger Things – you will like this movie. And if you don’t, at least you’ll remember IT.