IT is Sublimely Paced and Elegantly Engaging – Sean’s Review
It would be near impossible to discuss this new adaptation of Stephen King’s phenomenally creepy novel without mentioning the 1990 television mini-series that many hold dear to their hearts. After revisiting the mini-series a couple of years ago I still feel strongly that Tim Curry gives an effective performance as the iconic menacing clown, but I also found that the adaptation as a whole hasn’t aged for me very well. The story arc of The Losers Club as adolescents still worked for me like gangbusters, but something about the tone shift that takes place when they reunite as adults feels like it’s missing that emotional core that’s so prevalent in the other part of the story. Ironically, Andy Muschietti’s 2017 adaptation of IT solely focuses on the adolescent incarnation of The Losers Club and aside from it’s period setting (this takes place in the late eighties) and making creative liberties to suit the environment, this new adaptation is much closer to the pulse of what Stephen King put in his novel and it is very evident that Muschietti is a not only a fan of King’s output, this guy gets what makes it tick.
For those of you that have seen Annabelle: Creation and caught the exclusive sneak peak of the opening scene in IT most likely picked up on the different approach that Bill Skarsgard has taken with his performance and what really sells it is how he’s creepy, but at the same time there’s a whimsical playfulness to it. He has to lure Georgie to him and it’s not until he’s within his grasp that he lets his true maniacal motives unleash. The heart of IT is in equal parts the writing and the casting of the young losers ( the big stand outs being Finn Wolfhard of Stranger Things and Sophia Lillis who has a very promising future ahead of her) and all of the horrific elements wouldn’t work nearly as well without these lovable characters at the core of the story and how much I was invested in them. I deeply cared about what happened to them and when they’re put in horrific situations, supernatural or crossing paths with revolting people, I found myself becoming unsettled with them, like we were on this journey together. My friend that I brought to the screening asked me on the way home if I thought this movie was scary, which brought up the discussion of things like horror being personal and subjective. When we see horror films at a certain impressionable age, we find ourselves suspending disbelief to the point of allowing ourselves to truly be scared. I find myself as an adult as much in love with the genre now as I was back then but do horror films still scare me? Not in the same way that they did to my ten tear old self with an extremely vivid imagination. Does not being scared to the same degree make watching good horror films any less fun? Short answer, hell no! So to put it bluntly, I found this movie to be gleefully unsettling, rich in creepy atmosphere, has plenty of scares that are actually earned and most importantly I think this movie will do for impressionable young horror fans what the original A Nightmare on Elm Street did for me at that age and that was scare the crap out of me.
The biggest compliment I can give to IT, is that after two hours and fifteen minutes of this sublimely paced and elegantly engaging movie I was more than ready to watch part two the second the credits ended and I can’t wait to see how they bring these characters into modern day and how they’re going to figure out the creative hurdles to adapting that part of the story and hopefully making it equally exhilarating.