This movie is a pretty great psychological thriller that had me attentively engaged. The 2017 horror movie, directed by Andy Muschietti and based off the Stephen King novel of the same name, had a huge reception and box office. I still had people telling how scary this movie was ten months after It’s release. But then again, all of those people are horror movie fans.
The horror genre is unique. Action movies, mystery movies, love story movies, they all have wide-reaching fan bases and a giant catalog of “classics” that no one can argue are good movies in their own right. Horror movies however often do not make as much money in the box office. It made 700 million dollars and became the highest grossing horror film of all time, yet still does not crack the top 100 movie box offices. In general It would seem that there really are not as many horror film fans out there, however I would bet any box office that horror film fans LOVE their movies more than any action movie fan loves Avatar. Shit, that movie is the highest grossing of all time and I don’t even think people like that film. It however is insanely beloved, and after only one viewing I’m a fan as well.
This movie does not rely on jump scares or gore, though there are moments like that in the movie. Instead It’s main strength is vivid physiological horror. The plot is pretty straight forward, there are kids, they are getting taken by a clown monster, some other kids see some crazy fucking shit and the clown monster tries to get them. This movie actually reminded me how scared I was when I was a kid. I’m writing this review in the dark with the room door open to a dark hallway, the light switch is by the door and I am a little hesitant to get up, because I remember the feeling of It being in the hallway. I’m not referring to Pennywise, we’ll get to Bill Skarsgård’s performance in a bit, instead I’m talking about that feeling that anything scary could be just around the corner, the unknown horrors that are so personal and intimate and tailor-made for you. This movie captures that feeling perfectly. I’m not scared of clowns, and neither are half the kids, so when they are introduced to It, they don’t see a clown, they see their personal nightmares. Each scene is unique and shot in a way where the kids felt the fear before any weird stuff even happened.
The cast of kids are pretty great. And the movie does a good job at making me like them. At first I wasn’t into the character building scenes; I wanted to watch a clown eat kids not show how bullies are mean to losers. But you kind of need that in the movie or else why do I care about the kids being eaten in the first place. The movie makes me care for the kids and feel bad for them. I mean really feel bad for them too, some of their lives are fucked up. Pretty well much every parent/parent figure in It is abusive, angry, or a creep. I even felt bad for the main bully Henry, even though that dude is a legit psycho, but that is obviously from his abusive father. Part way through the movie I almost thought all the kids were going crazy and the clown was just a metaphor for the mental issues abused children have to deal it.
The cast of children did a descent job at acting. However there was only so much an 80’s stereotype band of kids can really do. The movie, in my opinion, attempts to show seven equal characters. However it appears pretty quickly that there are only three main characters and the rest were two-dimensional side characters. One was the pervy kid, one was the germophobe, one was jewish…. I legit do not think that character was given any unique traits other than being jewish. The three main characters however were expanded on really well. Jaeden Lieberher plays Bill, brother to the sweet sweet Georgie. Who spends the whole movie refusing the believe his brother is dead. He is the driving plot and the self-appointed captain. Jeremy Ray Taylor plays Ben, the hopeless romantic fat kid who does all the research and is the only one to actually know whats doing on. He also goes through some really crazy stuff and takes it all like a champ. I personally feel for him the most because he’s so love struck for this girl and tries so hard, but sadly doesn’t stand a chance. Sophia Lillis plays Beverly, and kills it. Her character does skirt the line of two dimensional; being the outsider chick that comes from a bad home and is tough as nails and brave as fire. She is the character that sort of kicks off the Loser’s Club and what keeps all the boys together, for obvious teenage boy reasons but also because she’s not afraid of some stupid clown.
Pennywise’s introduction was the best scene in this movie. I was sold from the interaction between It and Georgie. The rest of the movie could have sucked and I still would have loved that scene. I think all audience members can’t help it to compare him to Tim Curry, but they are entirely different versions of It. Bill Skarsgård does It so creepy. Obviously part of that needs to be credited to the make-up and effects teams. But his version of the character is perfect for a modern horror film. Every line out of that creepy face gets under your skin. You can feel It in the back of your skull while your watching this. He totes the line between charismatic clown to dead faced creature, like It’s trying to process humans and the mask is wearing off, just so well. I will say though I was never scared of him. In general I do not think this was a “scary” movie.
I never honestly felt like the kids were in danger, even when they very seriously were. Pennywise and all the mental moments were amazing to watch, but never actually got me afraid. I was interested because I wanted to see what happens with the plot, not see how the kids die. If you remember from earlier, that is how I went into the movie, wanting to see some kids die and some scary scenes. This movie was so good that halfway through, It made me care more about the plot then the horror aspects. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but It floated on by The Snappening all the same.
Movie watched and review written by: Troy Smith