The first time I saw the trailer for the newest imagining of Stephen Kings IT, I felt chills running down my spine. I have been in search of a horror movie that is genuinely going to scare me and I thought- I hoped- I may have finally found one.
Unfortunately, try as it might, It is just not scary.
The opening scene is a success, the pouring rain, the tender relationship between the two young brothers and the pin-drop quiet all help to build up the dreadful apprehension that something terrible is about to happen, leading up to the fateful moment we come face to face with Pennywise the clown, and little Georgie meets his bitter fate.
Bill Skarsgård plays Pennywise perfectly- he is creepy to a fault, and I tip my hat to the costume and makeup department- he looks terrifying. The first half of the film teases Pennywise brilliantly. We see him in snippets, enticing Georgie to the circus under the flood drain, staring at Mike through the trees as he is held down my bullies, and appearing suddenly behind the ever eerie red balloons that float silently towards several of the characters respectively.
However, there is only so long It can keep this up. As Beverly, Bill and Co become aware of the clown, we start meeting him for longer scenes, and these confrontations lead to the realisation- if you aren’t afraid of Pennywise, he no longer holds any power. And with that, Pennywise becomes almost a cartoon clown, as we, the audience, know that he can and will be beaten.
If you’re not just hoping for a scare from It, the film is actually hugely enjoyable. The children are brilliantly cast, and play the comedic side of the film to a tee. It is actually the subplots and back stories of the children that are the It‘s real triumphs. Each child is haunted by something awful- bullies, an over protective Mother, an abusive Father, the tragic death of parents, a missing brother… it is these weaknesses that lead them to Pennywise- he preys on their vulnerability, but they each individually confront their demons and in doing so band together to confront the clown.
The cinematography, costumes and set design are spot on- the film is unmistakably eighties. When Beverly cuts all her hair off, your mind screams ‘Molly Ringwald’ before the boys even get a chance to make the reference. It is a little bit too long, but what do you expect from a film adapted from a Stephen King novel?
I thoroughly enjoyed It, and so did everyone else I have spoken to about it since. It has a similar feels to films like The Goonies, but with a spooky clown thrown in for good measure.
Go to see It if you want to see an entertaining, good quality film. Just don’t go if you’re looking for a quick scare.