A scaredy-cats review of IT
I'm going to keep this review spoiler light - so if you're still on the fence about seeing IT, this could be the review for you.
Here's the thing. I'm mostly a giant scaredy-cat when it comes to ghosts, demons, possessions, monsters and evil clowns. Though somewhere, deep down inside me, there is a little glimmer of curiosity and Gryffindor courage that makes me want to test myself to see if I can truly conquer my fears of the horror genre.
Every now and again a movie or series will come along where my fascination levels start to outweigh my fear levels. Though never without consequence. For example:
- The Conjuring - Demonic possessions lightly based on a true a story. This can't be real, I need to watch it. Outcome... mildly conscious of any spooky looking antiques that might be a vessel for an evil spirit.
- Paranormal Activity (1) - Filmed in a Blair Witch style with ghosts. Sounds low budget enough that it won't be scary. Outcome... I never sleep with my leg outside of the bed just in case a ghost pulls me off the bed.
- American Horror Story - Dark tales from America that all weirdly interconnected. Great cast and killer soundtrack. I should be able to watch this, it's made for television after all. Outcome... At least for a few days after watching an episode, I make sure I go to bed at the same time as my girlfriend so that if any ghosts / escaped mental patients try to get us, there's at least two of us.
This brings me to the 2017 remake of IT. It's been three days since I've seen the film and the personal effect on me has been minimal... I'm still fully functioning and able to go to bed in the dark by myself. And as of writing this review no monsters have tried to get me. Whew. In fact, IT has almost had the opposite effect on me. I've been re-watching old clips from the 1990s mini-series on Youtube and have been giving serious contemplation to reading the book. I hear that's where the true darkness and mystery to this story lives.
Let me just put this out there - Pennywise the clown isn't the scary part of IT. The town of Derry and the creepy adults that live within it are the true evil. There's a darkness to that town that is painted so well it's almost hard to really appreciate it until you reflect on the movie as a whole, long after leaving the the theater.
I also think watching shows like The Walking Dead have actually long prepared me for the grotesque and jump scares that are often associated with the horror genre.
The general premise of the IT movie is about an evil clown named Pennywise who feeds on young children and their fears. The catch is that Pennywise only reappears every 27 years, which is the exact amount of time since the original IT movie / mini-series came out, creepy eh. Pennywise turns his attention to a group of young kids who are referred to as The Losers Club - after Bill's brother goes missing. Despite everyone in the town turning a blind-eye to all of the disappearances of children in town, Bill and his fellow Loser Club friends spend their summer searching for any trace of his younger brother. Which ultimately leads them towards Pennywise! With almost zero parental supervision this is where the true fun begins.
Overall, IT is a great movie. It's got just as many laughs as it has scary moments. And the scares aren't your classic jump out the seat / throw your popcorn in the air stuff. It's a coming of age story about some kids dealing with the shitty adults in their life. There just happens to be an evil clown in the middle of that... In fact, I would almost say, if you loved Stranger Things on Netflix, this is probably for you as well.
What was missing for me was a good backstory for Pennywise. Sure he's a creepy looking clown that feeds on the fears of children, though I needed the why. How did he come about? What actually is he? Where does he go for these 27 years of hibernation? I have questions, and not a lot of answers. Hopefully this is something that's explored in the sequel. In the mean time I'm going to have read the book. (I'm lying, I don't read books, but I might listen to it).
Where to from here with the franchise?
Ideally IT wouldn't return to our screens until 2044 (given the 27 years rule), though Hollywood being Hollywood, we've already got a 2019 IT 2 release planned. This isn't overly surprising as the original IT mini-series actually had The Losers Club come back as adults to face Pennywise one more time. Though this is where I'm not sure I want a 27 year time skip. I want the same Losers Club, those kids are awesome. They're funny and they're pretty bad ass.
- Great cast synergy between The Losers Club - I really cared about most of them as characters. I cheered for them, I laughed with them and worried for them when they ran into the darkness rather than away from it.
- The jokes, laughs, chortles, haha's and general level of banter between The Losers is on-point. Made even better with the pop-culture throwbacks to the 90s!
- The intensity and darkness of Derry as a town
- Pennywise 2.0 - Special effects have come a long way in 27 years
- The fact this movie was released 27 years after the first movie (which is how often Pennywise returns to feed on young children). Think about that for a moment.
If you loved Stranger Things you're probably going to love IT.