Hey guys, Tulcadhiel here bringing you a review of IT: Chapter One.
I don’t usually do big written pieces like this but I really wanted to try writing a review for a movie I’d seen and since IT was coming up on my movie night calendar, I thought: “Why not?”
Warning: Potential Spoilers
IT is a story about a group of outcast children called the Losers Gang gathering together during the summer break to enjoy their holiday. Their fun falls short however when children start to go missing all over Derry and after each member of the gang has a frightening encounter with Pennywise the Dancing Clown the gang decides to band together to defeat this monster, if they can.
IT is a movie adaptation of the novel ‘IT‘ by Stephen King, a renowned horror writer and household name to readers of the morbid and disturbed. This is not the first time the novel has been brought to the big screen however as back in 1990 this story first made itself known to movie goers as ‘Stephen King’s IT (will be refereed to as ‘the mini series’ from this point)’.
The miniseries is infamous for its lack of scares and overall silly vibe. After hearing friends and peers describe this series as creepy and making them scared of clowns, I had to see it for myself. So, I rented out a copy of the movie and sat down to watch it. I watched the miniseries last Halloween at home alone and honestly, the movie didn’t scare me. Yes, whilst some concepts and ideas were interesting and could be effective if used properly, the movie fell flat on realising them and so I always wanted more. Enough with the premise, I want to see whats written down on paper jump up and scare me!
IT is not a remake of the miniseries: far from it.
1990 Miniseries VS 2017 Movie
I must confess I felt some apprehension about this movie when I first saw the trailers. Although the setting and locations looked interesting and the actors were well casted from my previous knowledge of the miniseries and book, some of the special effects shown in the trailers and teasers looked very, um, fake. But this movie, oh boy, know’s how to leave you tense.
I remember this movie having some extremely effective scenes were there was no jump scares, no terrifying realisation, just something slowly and ever so quietly growing in the background, just out of view and thankfully, the movie didn’t cope out with a weak release like a jump-scare. To use an example of this effect in the movie, there is a scene were Ben (played by Jeremy Ray Taylor) is sitting in the town library looking into Derry’s morbid past through a history book. Not to spoil too much but when you’re watching this movie and get to this scene, keep an eye on the librarian in the background.
This movie has so many little moments like that that makes the viewer tense and the pay-off rarely feels cheap or weak. As the movie progresses you don’t know who to trust, what to trust and, in all honesty, if what you’re seeing is even real.
The child actors are great in this movie and with so many horror movies making the children act like adults it’s great to see a movie which actually got this right. Hats off to Jack Dylan Grazer who played the role of Eddie and especially Sophia Lillis as Beverly because its near impossible to tell the actor from the character by the time you leave the theatre. These two encompass their characters so well and really bring them and their torments to life. Everyone in the Losers Gang knows what to do and how to do it and it’s so great to watch talent like that with some many people at such a young age.
The Losers Gang (left to right): Stan, Eddie, Richie, Mike, Bill, Bev and Ben.
The supporting cast is hit and miss. Adults in this movie and the actors who played them were extremely unsettling and truly made the movie feel like everyone was against our heroes. And whilst Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers was a deliciously psychopathic maniac, I felt we could of used a little more time with the bullies and especially setting up their backstories and motivations. However the movie only had some much run time and so much budget, so it’s understandable these topics were removed or scraped entirely for some of their inappropriate and unnecessary details.
Throughout the movie there is a consistent distrust directed towards the adults in Derry as each adult seems to be abusive to the children in their lives in some form, whether physical, mental and even some suggestions of sexual abuse later down the line. Whilst watching this movie I felt like the whole of Derry was ‘IT’ in some way, due to their actions and attitudes and for those who’ve seen the miniseries, you have no idea how well the new IT makes you feel this.
This movie is shot beautifully. There’s so many good locations in this movie and the visual team knew how to get the most out of it. The movie does tend to have several similar scenes were characters step out of the light and into the darkness, thus leading to their worst nightmares. Honestly, I would of liked this movie to use some more interesting angles such as dutch angles, high angles and perhaps even some point-of-view shots as I feel the creative team could of created some extremely creepy effects using these.
Overall I didn’t feel like any of the visuals were overly out of place for this movie. At times Pennywise does have extremely weird animations and although they can come across as silly they are also equally unsettling in their effects. The only parts of this movie that felt a bit much was the projector scene and the dancing clown shot, but other than those two moments the movie worked and worked well.
Pennywise: The terrifying clown that knows want you’re scared of.
One part I forgot to mention regarding Pennywise is that the off-centre eyes are extremely creepy and unsettling. I found when looking up the cast and their acting history that actor Bill Skarsgård actually has a lazy eye and actively used this to his advantage when playing the role of Pennywise and co-dos to Skarsgård because the visual is so effective on its own without the need for blood and guts. I hope to see this guy again in future roles as his facial expressions were great, his voice and mannerisms extremely creepy and his stance so uncomfortable: this actor made Pennywise. Definitely a step up from Tim Curry’s amazing but silly performance in the miniseries.
Overall I think this is a good movie. IT has good scares, great tension, the story, whilst not new has been given some new ideas and the visuals and acting are on point. I’d definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a movie to not just leave them unsettled but also something to entertain them. I’d say this movie is good for all around fans of horror though fans of slashes like SAW might not get the most enjoyment out of this movie as there’s not much to cater to them.
I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Chapter 2 when it comes out. But anyway, that’s my review of IT. Hope you guys all enjoyed it and I’ll see you next time! Ja matane!