I didn’t want to wait a whole week to blog, but since it’s now October, welcome to another themed month! A lot has happened in the past couple weeks. My parents came to visit and had a great vacation to boot, my fiance and I finally got married and had a nice, simple ceremony befitting of us, and we also saw the new “It” movie in theater! Since we have our honeymoon planned for the 18th and will be enjoying some early Halloween fun in Disneyland, I decided this blog will be updated at least two to three times a week. And since I want to break away from anthologies this year, I’m going to dedicate this month to Stephen King. So, with that, let’s check out this remake.
Before I sum up the story, I’ll let it be known that I haven’t watched the 90’s mini-series in its entirety nor have I read the 1000+ page book. That being said, the story is split up between this movie and its eventual sequel. This half focuses on a group of children from Derry, Maine, who call themselves The Loser’s Club and their terrifying encounters with an evil creature of unknown origin. This thing takes on different forms to feed off the children’s fears to turn each of them into a tasty meal, although its primary form is of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The kids must band together to ward off and hopefully destroy it before it tries to kill them all.
I really enjoyed this version of the story. While it remains to be seen if the sequel will be remotely as good, this movie was a great starting point. I especially liked the performances for leader Bill and lovestruck Ben, though all the kids were well-acted. I thought it was a smart idea from the get-go to focus on this side of the story, not just for length but also to get you on these kid’s sides. I also really enjoyed Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise/It, and his version definitely stands apart from Tim Curry’s in the mini-series. That’s not to say Curry’s was bad, but it was clearly more campy and silly. This Pennywise constantly did things that freaked out both myself and my husband, and it doesn’t pull any punches in how it scares the kids. I liked the realistic, non-It problems each kid faces as many times they felt even creepier than the Pennywise scenes (for example, Beverly and her touchy-feely dad). I also preferred this movie’s way of showing how Pennywise influences the townspeople to make them basically ignore the bad things going on. There was one scene in particular with a subtle moment alluding to this that my husband and I absolutely loved.
I did find some things to nitpick, however. There were a couple times that the CGI on Pennywise was a bit silly and obvious, and the now infamous dancing scene was more funny than creepy. I could easily see why some people didn’t enjoy some of the horror, as there were a few straight up jumpscares. They didn’t bother me as much, but I could see how others would take issue with them. I also found it weird that we’re meant to semi-sympathize with Henry Bowers, the main bully in the movie. I didn’t entirely buy it, although I did feel he was fleshed out far better than the mini-series version.
Honestly, I had a good time with “It” and I’m excited for the sequel to come out in 2019. The acting is spot-on from both the child and adult actors, Pennywise/It is scarier than ever, and the movie had some cool set pieces for the scares and the big, climatic ending. And, thankfully, the gore is limited so even squeamish people like me could sit through it fairly easily (barring one scene that I had to turn away from). If you’ve read the book or seen the mini-series and didn’t like either, it’s highly unlikely this version will change your mind. But if you’re interested in a good horror movie for this spooky month, I encourage you to give it a watch (especially while it’s still in theaters). Stay tuned for more Stephen King blogs!