Remember last month when we wrote that the new trailer for Andres Muschetti’s It was the stuff nightmares are made of? Well, ditto for the movie.
There are so many grisly jump scares packed into the first hour of the film, you’ll wonder if that’s all there is to this tale. As soon as the unfortunate Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) meets his end at the mouth of the monstrous Pennywise the dancing clown (Bill Skarsgard), It moves from one gruesome scene to another, all filled with headless corpses, emaciated lepers, burned bodies, and geysers of blood.
The scares pile on to one another, leaving no time for recovery. At quite a few moments, I found myself leaping out of my seat, landing, and then being forced into the air again. It was almost overwhelming.
Fortunately, It also has the Losers Club, our group of seven bullied heroes who come together to fight the monster that’s killing children and terrorizing their hometown. The scares may be what pull you into the movie, but it’s this group of kids that makes you care.
Led by Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), the Losers bicker and joke with the snappy patter reminiscent of Judd Apatow’s gang of misfits (Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, etc.), but with more sincerity and more care for one another. It may be odd to feel more emotions than just terror at a movie as truly horrifying as It, but there’s a point when the pace of the jump scares slows, and you spend your time watching a magical bond form between these seven misfits. It tugs at your heartstrings, and may even bring a tear to your eye.
I should also note Skarsgard’s hulking, drooling, scenery-chewing performance as Pennywise. It’s natural to compare him to Tim Curry, who portrayed the clown in the 1990 miniseries. However, Skarsgard’s Pennywise is markedly different. Curry’s performance brought a jaunty bounce to the character, a playfulness that belied his evil bite. He was (no duh) a clown, after all. That goofiness is nowhere to be found here. From the moment that Skarsgard’s Pennywise appears, something is off (maybe it’s the thick spittle dripping from his red lips). This Pennywise is pure evil, and Skarsgard wears his depravity on his sleeve. I suspect he’ll be haunting my dreams for quite a while.
This new adaptation of It delivers on the horror promised in its many terrifying trailers. It’s been quite some time since a Stephen King story has delivered genuine scares on the big screen. Get yourself to a theater and be prepared to jump out of your skin.
+ The kids – The acting is superb, the dialogue is smart and funny, and the characters reach beyond cliché.
+ Pennywise – One of King’s most terrifying monsters, brought to horrifying life onscreen. An unnerving sight to behold.
+ The scares – It hasn’t been too often that a film adaptation of Kings work has been able to match his pace and his ability to scare the crap out of you, but this one succeeds.
– The Length – At nearly 2.5 hours, the movie is probably a little longer than it needs to be. It sags briefly after its marathon of scares in the first hour.
Trey Wydysh pulled an all-nighter last night. He wasn’t working hard on this review, or anything important like that. Pennywise just wormed his way back into his life, and now, he’s not letting him sleep. You can follow Trey on Twitter. Now that he’s not sleeping, he probably has more time to answer your questions, if you have any.
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