IT

Year
2017

Starring
Jaedan Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard 

Directed by
Andy Muschietti

Tagline
You’ll float too.

Synopsis

Over the course of a summer, seven kids in the town of Derry, Maine, band together as they realize an ancient evil is terrorizing their home town in the form of a clown.

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Review

While IT has been smashing records and box office expectations, grossing $123 million in its opening weekend (making the movie the biggest horror movie opening ever), what is perhaps more important is its reception with the general movie going public. In some circles, IT has been viewed as a disappointing affair and lambasted for “not being scary enough.” I subscribe to neither of those beliefs. While IT may be overhyped and terms like “horror masterpiece” may seem overly hyperbolic, especially at such an early juncture, this movie is a must see in theatres by any horror fan worth their salt.

IT is a well-crafted film that delivers on thrills from beginning to end and is well worth the price of admission for your local movie theatre. IT accurately portrays the type of horror writer Stephen King is most well known for. The fear doesn’t come from the audience plopping themselves into the situation unfolding before them on screen, but instead capitalizes on the fear that something terrible is going to happen to the characters you care about.

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Every scene, whether there is a scare or not, is meant to throw the audience off balance. This is especially true whenever our protagonists interact with any of the adults in Derry. If they aren’t outright an obstacle, they are at the very least an outside stressor. They don’t really go into why that is and if you aren’t familiar with the miniseries or the book, you might be left to think “What the fuck is wrong with these people?” without any explanation.

Props to the entire cast on this one. Most of our protagonists, The Losers Club, are well-rounded characters who you can’t help but fall in love with immediately. However, not all of them get equal screen time leaving some of the kids out in the cold as far as development goes. The film makers have also chosen to shake up some of the children’s roles in the overall plot that really changes some of the group’s dynamics. This may irk some fans of the book or miniseries. Hopefully, this issue will be rectified in the sure to come sequel.

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Bill Skarsgard is terrifying as the vicious clown Pennywise. The strength of his performance really shines in the subtle physicality he gives the clown, whether it be drooling after delicious children as he emerges from a flooded basement or his eyes not always glaring in the same direction(Skarsgard has a rare eye condition that enables him to do this). There isn’t a time where Pennywise is on the screen that you truly feel comfortable because you know these children are in the presence of a predator.

Another complaint I’ve seen online was the use of CGI. While I almost always prefer practical effects, especially in my horror films, the majority of the effects didn’t really bother me. There were a few shots that I felt the movie could have done without, but I was happy with how the effects were implemented and they jived with the rest of the film for me. There are also frequent jump scares. In recent years, this term has been shaded with a negative connotation as unskilled directors often throw them in for cheap “Gotchya!”  moments. The jump scares in IT are earned and do not feel cheap in any sense of the word because there was always a payoff.

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Personally, I love what Andres Muschietti has done with this property and I can’t wait to see what Part II will have in store for us. I highly recommend going to see this in the theatre, unlesss you have an extreme aversion to clowns or a low tolerance for horror, gore, or squeamish about terrible things happening to children. We’ll be going more in depth on the film on a later episode of The Evil Geek Cult Podcast, so keep an eye out for that.

Have any of you seen IT(2017)? What did you guys think? Was IT overhyped or well worth the wait? Sound off in the comments below.