It’s 2:30 in the morning and I just got back from the late screening of “IT” at the mall outside of Elmira, NY. I am going to write this without consideration to the original novel, nor the mini-series with Tim Curry. There are no spoilers below.
Let’s cut right to it. Did I like the film? Yes. Would I recommend it? Yes. Is it perfect? No, of course not, but I have seen many poorly done movies in this genre and this is not one of them.
“IT” is officially categorized as a drama/horror and that is pretty darn accurate. It certainly is not a straight horror film. Honestly, I did not find it scary or creepy AT ALL, but it takes a lot to bother me. Anyone with a legitimate clown phobia will be freaked out of course. In fact, I found this film extremely funny. Not “oh this is so bad it amuses me”, but genuinely comical. I laughed out loud a great number of times. The screenwriting was excellent, and I am sure the humor was on purpose. Anyone alive during 1989 will really appreciate the plethora of pop culture references. This film goes toe to toe with “Deadpool” in that department.
Our story is set in Maine, since the source material is from Stephen King. Anyone familiar with the look and feel of the NorthEast will immediately recognize that this was not shot in British Columbia. “IT” has a run time of 2 hours and 15 minutes and could easily have been cut down to under 2 hours without anyone noticing. It does drag on a bit here and there. I didn’t have any problem with the cinematography, though the CGI just didn’t cut it for me. Practical effects Hollywood people, write it down. As with any story, I was waiting for the third act to make or break the plot. There are the typical horror tropes that appear, and not the “wink wink” kind you find in “Cabin in the Woods”. All in all, the ending worked, and set up the pre-determined ‘part two’ coming out next year.
The predominantly young cast was fantastic. They all did a remarkable job and I had never really heard of any of them. The star of the show is Sophia Lillis (I have two words about Sophia – Ellen Ripley). Unfortunately for a film about a demonic clown looking to become a franchise, this isn’t a good thing. We already know this cast won’t be back for the next one. Bill Skarsgard does a decent job as Pennywise, but I just didn’t care about him as much as I am supposed to. This isn’t the actor’s fault, the appearances of Pennywise felt forced and I found the character amusing as opposed to threatening. Doom Head from “31” would make a much better franchise antagonist, and he only had about 15 minutes of screen time.
“IT” is a decent watch, especially for this genre. Part two will be on it’s way and I would not be suprised if we get several more films in this franchise. If I had any advice for the filmmakers (which they wouldn’t follow anyway) it would be to put more work into Pennywise. Just because he is an established character doesn’t mean you can rely on that. Go see “IT” this Halloween season. It is even better if you watch it with someone who knows these kind movies as well as you do.