Why are horror movies suddenly saving the summer? Last year, Lights Out, The Conjuring 2, and The Shallows proved to be a bigger critical hit, even though together they still made less than films like Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. This is why I’m so glad to see that It, a film so hotly anticipated, is still #1 at the box office, pulling more worldwide in a week than The Lego Batman Movie and Cars 3, giant freaking cash cows, did in their time in theaters.
Let’s be real here. The 1990 It miniseries, adapted from Stephen King’s novel is remembered for one thing, and one thing only: Tim Curry’s portrayal as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. However, this adaptation will be cherished for a long time, and for much more than a portrayal. If I’m being completely honest, this is tied with Get Out for my favorite horror film of the year. It’s that good.
The opening scene is one of the best, but it was also unexpectedly graphic. Right from the get-go, you feel the bond between sweet, innocent little Georgie Denbrough and his older brother Bill. And then it begins. The iconic scene where his paper boat drifts into a sewer and picked up by the menacing Pennywise. The scene is shown in full here, and (minor spoiler warning) you see the kid’s arm get bitten clean off by the devilish clown, blood seeping into the street as the rain falls down. The scene sets the tone for what’s to come and does a pretty damn good job at it too.
Let’s talk about Pennywise. Does Bill Skarsgård do the character justice? Absolutely. I think his portrayal of the iconic clown deserves a ton of accolades. Not only for being painstakingly creepy, but also improving over the Tim Curry’s Pennywise. I don’t know about all of you, but I enjoy a villain that is more serious as well as funny. I really couldn’t take Tim Curry seriously in this role, but Bill Skarsgård is pretty perfect here. Also, kudos to the 1990 Pennywise reference! Not that a room full of clowns wasn’t scary enough…
I do have one problem with It, and it’s the character of Henry Bowers. I think the portrayal of him is fine, but his character just really isn’t that interesting. It’s really hard to not give anything away, but his story arc is very rushed and not given much insight. Maybe in Chapter 2, he will be explored a bit more. I hope he is.
The writing is also perfect. These characters all come from different environments, but together they are who they want to be. The child actors’ chemistry is pretty terrific too. And Richie (Finn Wolfhard)? Yeah, he steals the show. I won’t spoil any of his amazing one-liners (or the others’ one-liners referring to him) but he was by far my favorite of the bunch. Also, the character of Beverly (Sophia Lillis) was very believable. I really think that we’ll be seeing more from her soon.
Imagine a mix of Stand By Me and Stranger Things, and then throw a clown in for good measure. Well, you have Andy Muschietti’s It. Way more often than not, it delivers on every scale. The perfect blend of horror, humor, and adventure, this is a film that will not be forgotten. I’m going to give it an A.
It stars Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Jason Robert Scott. Directed Andy Muschietti.