I usually love going to the movie theater alone. For me, it’s a time to escape, unwind, and just break away from the stress everyday life pours on you. With that being said, such was not the case when I went to see It on Monday night.
It is one of the best horror movies I have seen in years. Director Andy Muschietti, who’s most recent endeavor was Mama (2013), brings to live Stephen King’s literary creation in a vigorously terrifying way. Based off of King’s 1986 horror novel of the same name, writers Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nations – 2015, True Detective Season One – 2014), and Gary Dauberman (Annabelle – 2014, Annabelle: The Creation -2017) all collaborated to make sure that the themes and tones of its author’s words came to fruition.
The movie stars a plentiful of young talented actors and actresses, including Stranger Things break out star Fin Wolfhard, St. Vincent’s Jaeden Lieberher, and first time major-role performer Sophie Lillis. These three talented kids portray characters who all belong to the “Loser Group”, a collection of friends who are bullied, forgotten, and beaten down (both mentally and physically) by schoolmates and parents.
Sound bleak right? Well, let’s throw in killer clown.
The titular antagonistic character Pennywise is brought to life by Bill Skarsgård. Brother of True Blood and Big Little Lies star Alexander Skarsgård, Bill takes some cues from Tim Curry’s 1990 version while also putting his own dark twist on one of King’s most recognizable characters.
The audience first meets Pennywise in the opening moments of It when Georgie Denbrough loses his toy sailboat down a sewer drain. From the first moment you first see Skarsgård’s eyes as Pennywise rise into vision over the allegoric grate, it’s an instantaneous fact that this clown means less than zero good news. The catalyzing scene sets a bloody damn poignant tone for the remaining two hours of horror.
Anyone who has read King’s novels knows that the multiple New York Times bestseller likes to take his time when telling a story. Same goes for It as a cinematic experience. Muschietti steers his venture with a methodical speed that allows for the overwhelming themes of childhood trauma, small town isolation, and trust/sacrifice to take full effect.
It is an uncommon example of a well-directed horror movie experience; it reminds me of Let The Right One In (2008), Silence Of The Lambs (1991), and The Exorcist (1973). Being able to walk out of a theater scared and impressed is something should not be overlooked.
One of the most underrated aspects of It is its portrayal of adults and parents. They are painted as monsters themselves, sometimes rivaling the supernatural terrors of Pennywise. The most evident examples to look for are Beverly’s father, and Eddie Kaspbrak’s mother.
Alright, while I loved It, there are some holes you cane poke in It (God, it’s confusing with all these “it”s). Some of the fears of the loser group kids could have been fleshed out more; most notably for me Mike Hanlon and Richie Tozier. I’ll like Mike touch on the other’s in his post, because I think it’s safe to say he is less high on this horror experience than I.
I recommend that everyone see It, even if you are not a true horror fan. It’s a movie experience that everyone should have. It’s a remake that takes the best parts of its original literary inspiration and first silver-screen adaption and creates a more-than-memorable 135 minutes of terror.
It is the scariest movie I have seen since The Conjuring since 2013. It’s one the same level of the terror I had when I first saw The Descent (2005). It is not just a must see…it’s a must experience. Do not miss out on It.
Stanko Rating: A