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So, I caught “IT” last night. And, I was genuinely very hyped to see it, as I have been a huge fan of the original tv miniseries version (I’ve never read the original novel by Stephen King). And I was also a fan of director Andy Muschietti’s previous film “Mama”, so I was excited to see this new one. See, before this came out, there was a huge buzz circling around it. The trailer broke the record for most watched film trailer within 24 hours, and box office analysts were predicting it would debut anywhere between $50- 60 million (As I type this, it’s been announced that its opening take was a massive $117 million. Nearly doubling initial predictions). And I saw more than a few people actually puzzled by this. “Really? More than Star Wars?” said one. “I don’t get it. What’s the big deal?” said another. What they failed to realize is that for a lot of people, “IT” was a seminal moment in time for us horror fans. Whether it be the novel, the miniseries, or both, “IT” meant something to us. To our youth. If you asked anybody from my neighborhood around my age what was the scariest movie they saw, 9 times outta 10 they said “IT”. Or specifically, “that muthafucking clown!”. And the trailers and clips that were shown to us gave us hope that this would do its source material/previous adaptation justice. So, quite simply, this film is an event in the first order. But… does it hold up??? Frankly…
In my opinion, yes, IT does!!! (See what I did there?) From its opening scene, where Georgie encounters Pennywise the dancing clown, you know this movie isn’t playing any games. Now, let’s talk about Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise for a second. There was a lot of debate on whether or not he, or anybody for that matter, could match Tim Curry’s iconic portrayal of Pennywise in the miniseries. So I can imagine the type of pressure that was on him to really deliver. And boy… he sure as hell did! It’s not so much that he matches Curry, as he’s his own level of creepy. And when I say creepy, I mean CREEPY. Bill Skarsgard personifies creepy to a T in this. I was blown away by his performance. He was simply amazing. I hope this leads to bigger things for him.
Now, let’s move on to the the brightest spots of the film. The center of this scare fest. The young cast who comprise the Losers Club: Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Chosen Jacobs. Oh man… I can’t remember the last time a movie that consisted primarily of kids brought me so much life. Maybe “The Sandlot”? Or even “Stranger Things”, which ironically also stars Finn Wolfhard. Well, it doesn’t matter, because in this, they were amazing. Just the greatest aspect of this movie to me. Particularly Grazer as Eddie. I know most have said Wolfhard was the standout, but Grazer’s portrayal of Eddie was my favorite out of the seven.
Now, onto the scares. Was this the scariest thing ever?? I mean, it’s hard to be scared by movies now. We’ve seen so many classic horror movies that we’ve become jaded. But… “IT” was scary. And I’ll explain why. See, nowadays, audiences think having a bunch of loud noises and jump scares in a movie equals scary. And, honestly, it doesn’t. It’s startling. But it’s not scary. It has no lasting effect. You leave the theater laughing at how many times you jumped, but will you remember it years, months, or even days from now? The modern day movies are perfect examples. They have a jump scare/loud bang every few mins. But you’re not scared, because you don’t give a shit about anybody. Since they didn’t give us the time to let us get to know them. And what time we did, the characters were obnoxious. So why should we be scared? “IT” does give us the time. And the time we are given is spent with such great and funny kids. We get to know them. And we love them. Which is why we are terrified for them whenever Pennywise attacks. Now that’s scary. And I think director Muschietti nailed that about this movie. I can honestly say, I was scared.
Any nitpicks? Just one. The character of Mike. I feel he wasn’t given enough to do. They took his character trait and gave it to Ben. Which kinda leaves Mike without anything useful to do. Luckily, Jacobs imbued him with enough character to make me care, even when the film didn’t leave me with much to care about him for. So all in all, I’ll say this version of “IT” definitely holds its own with its predecessor. Hopefully, this leads to more big, truly scary horror films instead of run of the mill weekend warrior horror movies that we usually get. Job well done, guys. Job well done…
Rating: 2 cups of Whiskey 🍸🍸