Seven young kids in the small town of Derry, Maine, are about to face something they never thought was imaginable before-- IT is a shape-shifting evil that comes out from the sewer every 27 years to feast on the children of the town. Coming together over the course of the summer, the friends are challenged to overcome their own fears to battle the murderous clown known as Pennywise.
From what I’ve heard, and what the film is categorized under, I was expecting this movie to be scary and horrific. As someone who loves horror and knowing there hasn’t been a good horror flick in years, I was excited to get my ticket for this movie. While Pennywise is terrifying, overall, IT is more intense than it is scary. It’s the young actors who make IT one of the better Stephen King adaptations. This is a solid thriller that works best when it is most involved in its adolescent non-monster related concerns. The movie is a collection of terrifying, hallucinatory, and crazy nightmare imagery; a pileup of moods, from house horror to simple pre-teen humor.
In the first 30 minutes, it’s clear the movie is less horror and more of a coming age story that everyone has seen a billion times. The scares were vintage, cheap horror tricks: kids wandering through a haunted house, or blood shooting out of a bathroom sink. IT focuses mostly on jump scares, but the movie also manages to tell an interesting story with actual characters. The kids’ individual fears are perhaps more frightening than Pennywise himself. The terror part of the film is dependent on Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgard. While his acting is very strong, a clown with over dramatic makeup in need of a solid lace front just isn't spooky in 2017. The days of horror super villains are long gone. Now, the villain is the government or racism. With the over-hype IT is receiving, horror films need to be smarter.
This movie doesn’t shy away from grossness and definitely earns its “R” rating. There's implied incest, intense bullying, and children are in violent situations. Stephen King fans will appreciate the clear effort of affection into this redesign, even as it struggles to become more than the sum of its parts. The strength of this film lies in the kids who group together to call themselves, The Loser Club and the incredible cast. Though the movie is a little long and doesn’t perfectly execute its grand ambitions, the movie brings out the stories’ coming-of-age sentiment rather than being all horror.
While the movie is packed with seriously talented actors, IT doesn’t resonate. It’s a messy mix of stories that lasts too long for one to sit through. I doubt the average moviegoer will feel strong about this movie, especially if they are expecting horror. IT was a huge disappointment.