I wanted to start a series of horror movie reviews leading up to Halloween because I love scary movies and I annoyingly refer to October as Spooktober. So welcome to the first installment in my Spooktober Review Series! The first movie on the list is It (2017).
Somehow I am one of the few people who did not see the original It (1990) and therefore was not instilled with an incredible fear of clowns at a young age. Of course, I knew what It was just by being a human who, contrary to popular belief, does not live under a rock. When the first trailer dropped for this movie it seemed as though the entire world started freaking out, and I will admit that they hype for this movie had me really excited to go in and see it, despite my lack of any experience with the former miniseries or any knowledge of the plot beside a killer clown demon thing that haunts kids. So a couple of my friends and I bought last minute IMAX tickets at an AMC Theather this past Friday, got assigned horrible seats in the second row, braced our necks for the soreness to come, and sat in silence wonder and horror at this newest Stephen King adaptation.
Seeing this movie was a really great experience that I would gladly do again. From the opening scene, I was surprised at just how gruesome and horrific this film would be, I sat back and understood that this was going to be a scare fest the whole way through. Next thing I know I am introduced to the “Losers” and the movie shifts away from my expectations again and turns into a coming of age story with a cast of lovable and funny characters. Then these two tones are overlapped together to make something very unique, a horror movie with an excellent plot, well-written characters, and a horrifying villain. I was mesmerized by this film from start to finish and when the end title came on “It” I was momentarily disappointed that it was over until “Chapter One” appeared right underneath it, then I was excited to see what the future holds for this franchise.
One cannot discuss this movie without talking about Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. He was both funny and scary, some scenes more one than the other, creating an unpredictability that kept the audience on the edge of their seat whenever he was on screen. A particular shot at the end still stands out to me, it wasn’t necessarily scary or funny but it was just unsettling. At one point Pennywise just starts dancing rapidly to music on a stage in his lair. His face holds no emotion but he just stares while he dances insanely. For some reason, that is the Pennywise moment that really stands out to me, and I think that speaks to the chaotic nature of the character. This clown is drawing a lot of comparisons to another famous pop culture clown performance, that of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and honestly I can see where people are coming from with that comparison. I don’t think that is quite there, but there are definitely some familiar flavors and perhaps if Skarsgard is given more screen time in the sequel than he can reach that level.
Most of everything else in the movie was excellent as well. The performances of the child actors were nothing to complain about, particularly Finn Wolfhard as Richie and Sophia Lillis as Beverly stood out as actors to watch out for in the future. The direction of Andres Muschietti also proves superior to most modern horror directors and anyone member of the It team to keep your eyes on for future projects. The cinematography and shadowing in this film were essential to creating the tension and unease necessary for a film such as this and they were spot on as well. The only real issues I had came at the end but mostly they were issues of pacing, as well as problems with the source material that cannot fully be placed on this adaptation.
While It is not the best movie I have seen all year, it is by far the most well-made and entertaining horror movie I have seen in quite some time. If you are looking for anything to watch this upcoming Spooktober, this movie is definitely one to consider. I give It (2017) an 8 out of 10 Stars. But what do you think? Does this version hold up to the original? What did you think of Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise? Please let me know, and as always, thank you for reading this and have a nice day!