For me, it doesn’t get any better than Stephen King‘s novels. I started reading his work before I was a teenager, and have read nearly all of his novels since. Naturally, I have been pretty excited for the new imagining of IT. The 1990 television mini-series was great at the time but it hasn’t aged all that well, and those new images of Pennywise seem to embody the creepy clown I always imagined as a kid. Andrés Muschietti has given us a solid film with grounded characters and plenty of scares. This is one horror movie that you want to see before it leaves theaters.
IT gives a fresh feel to the classic Stephen King novel. It is refreshing not only because its a well made movie, but also because so many movies that are made out of King’s novels feel like campy parodies of the original content. The original IT television mini-series was great and it still is, but Andrés Muschietti’s new imagining is the IT we always needed. From Georgie’s first encounter at the sewer grate to the Loser Club’s final effort to defeat Pennywise, IT keeps you in suspense for two hours and fifteen minutes while the kids try to defeat the evil clown.
The thing that makes the new IT special is that Muschietti takes the time to develop the characters instead of just rushing into the frights. Remember that this is an 1,168 page novel that spends a lot of time on who the characters are, not just on the evil that Pennywise unleashes. You have to care about who the characters are before you can care what happens to them. This is what makes so many of Stephen King’s novels unforgettable. Memorable characters placed in outstanding situations are a hallmark of all his works.
That’s not to say that there are not any moments where you are thinking, “Don’t go in there!” or “Why don’t you just stay together?” This is in the end, a horror movie with plenty of those moments. It is those other moments though that make this movie a step above the others. It’s Bill struggling with the loss of his brother. It’s Ben trying to find his place as the new kid in school. It’s Beverly trying to deal a nasty town rumor and an abusive father. The Loser’s Club is a group of kids who cannot find a place in their world, but are bonded together in friendship borne out of a common struggle.
Bill Skarsgård gives Pennywise the Clown a frightening new persona. Not taking anything away from Tim Curry’s performance in the 1990’s mini-series, but Skarsgård brings a more demented edge to the character. His quick transitions from friendly clown to fearsome foe keep you captivated the entire time he is on screen. Skarsgård’s intensely evil stare sends chills down your spine as you wonder whether he is going to bite off a child’s arm or turn into their worst fear.
Ultimately, IT is a story about fear and how we overcome it. It takes you back to your younger days when monsters felt real and your friends were your family. Now we will be impatiently awaiting Chapter Two!
Tell us what you thought of IT in the comments below!
Featured Photo: IT Movie Facebook Page