Movie Review: IT

I finally got to watch IT last week, and it definitely deserves being the highest grossing horror movie of all time. The film was beautifully shot, well paced, and the child actors were great.

I’m not a huge fan of the book or the TV miniseries, but I did love Tim Curry’s portrayal as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. This made me a little hesitant for Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal for a couple reasons. The whole reason It is mainly seen as a clown is because it’s easier for children to approach him. Tim Curry’s It fits that description, because he acts like a drunk clown that was paid to be at a kid’s birthday party: somebody that is a little unsettling, but still approachable. From the trailer, it seemed like Bill Skarsgård’s It would never be approached by a child because just his appearance is scary.

The first scene with Georgie and the storm drain immediately changed my opinion. It and Georgie’s interactions seemed very believeable because Skarsgård acted like a nice, normal clown. The scene was still unsettling, though, because It’s eyes were pointed in slightly different directions, and the audience knows what is about to happen.

When Skarsgård was acting, he was a horrifying It. But that brings me to another point: there was too much CGI in this film. Yes, It takes different forms, so Skarsgård couldn’t be the clown for the whole movie, but I wish he had more time to just act and interact with the kids, because those were the scariest parts for me. The CGI scenes always went just a tad too long, which took me out of the film and made it less scary.

Besides the CGI, my only other complaint is how they decided to change a couple characters. Knowing the history of Derry and It is a big part of Mike’s character, and in the movie Ben does that instead. I’m guessing it was to make it more believeable for a thirteen-year-old boy to be in a library over the summer, but I still don’t like the change. This is because Mike’s character is changed to a homeschooled boy who works at a meat market, whose parents both died in a fire. That’s all we really learn about Mike. And while those things play a part in the movie, I couldn’t name one personality trait that Mike has. This makes him seem like the token black character, and that’s something that I really hope will be corrected in the second part, because one reason why The Loser’s Club works so well is that there is a balance between them.

I’m sure fans of the book/miniseries want to know how It compares. The movie is definitely different, which for once I actually enjoyed. Setting the childhood part in the 80s instead of the 50s brings a fresh take on the story that nearly everybody knows at least something about. But besides Georgie’s death and the overall basis of the story, the movie plays out differently. I thought this was a good decision because 1. trying to make a 1000 page book into a two hour movie is impossible, and 2. the movie wouldn’t be as scary if you knew what was going to happen. There’s plenty of easter eggs and nods toward the book, and considering Stephen King himself likes the adaptation, I’m sure most horror fans will, too.

By: Monica Brich

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