It (2017)

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So after years in development and months of hype, the new It movie is finally here. But does it live up to all the excitement people seem to have for this? Directed by Andy Muschietti who also directed Mama which I consider an original supernatural movie that is pretty underrated. Muschietti takes an interesting approach to his movies, focusing on visual style while not neglecting the character interactions.

The opening to a movie should tell you much about the film. It should give you an idea of the movie’s tone and themes while introducing a character or two. The opening of It is near perfection. I loved it. The visuals right off the bat give the gloomiest most dreary world that a horror fan could have hoped for. Shortly after meeting our characters we get the first Pennywise appearance and H-O-L-Y crap was it creepy and intense. If It could have maintained the excellence of the introduction throughout the film it would be legendary. Though not all things are meant to be perfection sadly. While not perfect It is fantastic and I had a blast the whole way through.
Before we go any further I want to be sure to mention the characters and performances in this. The cast of kids is nothing short of amazing. There are one or two bad takes but as a whole, they really stand out. I’ve been a long advocate for character building in horror. If you feel a connection to the characters you’ll care about what happens to them (good or bad). These characters are built so well that the viewer has no choice but to care about what happens. Each one is unique and has a strong character arch all their own. Performance-wise the standout is Fin Wolfhard (BTW can we all agree that’s pretty much the best name ever) from Stranger Things. His character Richie is the foul-mouthed comic relief that no matter the situation he always has a joke for it. I actually found myself relating to him the most. Also worth mentioning is Sophia Lillis as Beverly. She really gives it her all portraying a young woman dealing with pretty much every complicated and terrifying aspect of life that a 15 year old girl could go through, along with a psychotic interdimensional clown monster trying to kill her. This actress is going places, she’s worth keeping an eye on.

Skarsgard does a fantastic job filling in for the epic portrayal of Pennywise by Tim Curry in the original miniseries. He made a great decision to play it his own way and not try to just do a Tim Curry imitation. Pennywise is a little more childish and honestly feels more dangerous in this movie. Though his motives seem more clouded than they were in the original miniseries, his creepy presence certainly leaves an impact.

The imaginary version of the 80s fits well in here as the story originally took place in the 50s and not every character action or setting would make sense in the 1980s. So they played around with the world a little bit and I’m fine with that. It creates this hyper-realized version of the 80s with some 50s aspects that views the world through the eyes of the children. The best example of this would be the broken down well house that Pennywise lives in. It’s one of the creepiest visuals for a house shown on film and is really only shown during the day! At the same time, it’s beyond reality, this is a world viewed through they eyes of a child and its visual style absolutely reflects that.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, the movie is not perfect and some flaws are present. The CGI can get a bit overused at times. Some scenes lose their effectiveness as the CGI stands out and make It look too “cartoony.” This is a movie that would have benefitted from a minimum use of CGI but you can’t always get what you want. There were also one or two lines that seemed awkward or poorly delivered. These are far and few between for this stellar cast, but I did wince in my seat at a couple deliveries. Also, the score can be too exaggerated at points. It even reaches the distracting level at certain tense scenes.

Finally, I’d like to talk about a long lost aspect of cinema in general. This is the realistic take on children or as we’ve come to know them recently, tweens. In the past, we had movies like Monster Squad, The Quest, or even The Goonies where the stars and main characters are under 16 years old and treated like real humans with complex emotions and behave like real children do. The kids in It swear, make fun of each other, get into fights, and have complex (even romantic) emotions towards one another that seems to have been lost in modern cinema for decades. Despite this film being rated R and containing graphic violence, and sexual situations, I fully recommend any parent to take their own tween to enjoy this movie as it has both respect for the characters and portrays them with a depth that we haven't seen in what seems like forever.

It is a fantastic mainstream horror film with amazing characterization, and a beautiful aesthetic. While it isn't perfect, it deserves lots of praise and it gives me hope for the future of the director, cast, and the horror genre in general.
It is a fantastic mainstream horror film with amazing characterization, and a beautiful aesthetic. While it isn't perfect, it deserves lots of praise and it gives me hope for the future of the director, cast, and the horror genre in general.