I’m not all that big on horror movies to be perfectly honest, movies don’t scare me, they never really have, sure they can startle and make me jump a few times, but most movies don’t have the right elements of horror to actually scare me, I am however, a big fan of the works of Stephen King, not because they scare me but because they’re so well written that I’m invested and from time to time send a shiver down my spine.
Did It scare me? No. Did I enjoy it? Very much so, yes.
One stormy night, a young boy with a paper boat encounters Pennywise the Dancing Clown, an incarnation of the demonic entity It.
Following this a group of unpopular youngsters pursue the demented clown, fighting their own fears along the way.
The main bit of praise I can give this film is it’s characterisation, each of the child characters has their own struggles and problems, which really makes you empathise with them, sure a lot of them fall into archetypes, but it’s the way those archetypes are then carried off and built upon and for the most part their all used incredibly well, in no particular order these are the main characters: The grieving brother with a speech impediment, the tomboyish girl, the loudmouth, the Jew, the hypochondriac, the fat one and let’s not forget, the Black one. That probably doesn’t sound like praise but what they do to carry these characters, each had a specific fear and each had their own problems.
They’re also being terrorised by a group of bullies, led by the sadistic Henry Bowers, whose sanity gradually deteriorates throughout the run time, which unites the group as one, against Pennywise and Henry.
Now let’s turn our attention to the actors bringing this to the screen, starting with Bill Skarsgård, who portrays Pennywise, incredibly well it must be said, his creepiness factor is through the roof, the smile, the voice, all of it is chilling. It must also be said that all of the children are incredibly promising, especially Jaeden Lieberher who portrays Bill Denbrough, the brother of Pennywise’s first on-screen victim Georgie and Sophia Lillis who plays Beverley Marsh, a sexually abused tomboy accused of promiscuousness at school, who shows herself to be incredibly brave and an asset to the group, I think these two young actors have a bright future.
Another great part of the film is it’s direction, specifically the opening scene with Georgie and the boat in which we’re introduced to Pennywise, the way it’s shot with the weather and use of shadows is incredible, and another scene which I don’t wish to spoil (it includes a creative use of hair and blood) is another standout.
In conclusion, this is a movie defies genres, yes it’s a horror movie, but it also has the hallmarks of a coming of age drama, in the style of Stand By Me as well as a few comedic moments, if like me, you’re not a big fan of horror, give it a go anyway, you might be impressed.