I’m not a massive fan of horror movies in general, but everyone keeps raving about this movie and, since the sequel will be coming out in September of 2019, I thought it was about time to watch it.
A few months ago, I tried reading the book by Stephen King. It’s a massive tome of over a thousand pages, and I made the mistake of starting to listen to it on audiobook, which makes it impossible to skim. It drove me to madness with the slow pace and I DNFed the book about a four hundred pages in (so about a third of the way). I want to get it again eventually in book form and skim the boring parts, but my thoughts of the book were mixed, to say the least. I loved the idea, but the book is so bogged down with pointless details.
Anyway, unto the movie.
For those who don’t know anything of this movie/book, it follows a demonic presence haunting the town of Derry, arising every twenty-seven years to kill people, mostly children. The story follows a group of seven people who seek to destroy it, once as young teens and then twenty-seven years later as adults. Here’s a trailer for the first and second movie.
I feel like it’s difficult to review this movie without spoilers, so just keep in mind that my entire review is going to contain spoilers.
I was actually happy that the filmmakers decided to break up the movie according to time. The first follows the seven when they are young and their first encounter with It, or Pennywise the Clown, and the second movie follows them as adults. This is better than the book, which jumped back and forth a few times and seriously confused me.
Anyway, for the most part, I enjoyed this movie. Besides a couple scenes, I didn’t find it very scary, instead being more of a coming-of-age mystery. There are some that would consider it more of a horror, but compared to a lot of horror movies it gives more emphasis to the characters instead of jump scares.
The young actors playing the main cast are brilliant and it was their friendship that truly made the movie for me. They were the perfect balance between innocence and strength. Though, it may have been just me, but boy do these kids swear a lot. If you don’t like swearing, skip this movie. Bill Skarsgard was incredible as Pennywise. The way he changes his voice and his facial expressions make the clown so creepy!
The plot itself was also interesting. The idea of a monster who plays off our fears is not new (perhaps it was when King wrote the book, but not when this movie came out), and yet I thought the film dealt with this theme well, especially as each child sees the monster separately and begin to realize that only together they are strong. Only together can they overcome their fears. It is why It is constantly trying to get them alone, because he has no power over them when they are together. It is why It doesn’t kill Bev when he takes her down to his secret lair (btw, I kind of want a secret lair in the sewer system now, though something might to wrong with me), because she is no longer afraid.
Though, for the record, this movie still falls into some annoying horror tropes.
For example, the kids clearly understand that It only attacks when they are alone, and yet even afterwards they are completely willing to follow a shadow or, in Bill’s case, the ghost of his little brother who Pennywise killed. I understood in the beginning why they would do it, but halfway through they have no excuse.
Also, there were scenes that I doubted Pennywise strength. He easily takes out several of the bullies and other children, and yet with the seven main characters he has multiple occasions to kill them and instead just opts for scaring them. It was frustrating, to say the least, especially since all the main characters survive. What kind of horror movie is this anyway?
I know from the book that one of them dies as an adult before they see It again, and I’m pretty sure one might die in their second fight, but don’t quote me on that.
Either way, I look forward to seeing the sequel (probably two years late because that’s usually me).
But, for the most part, I was really impressed with this movie. It sets itself apart from most horror films and has extremely powerful themes and characters. It’s not perfect, by any means, but still enjoyable.
Have you seen the movie or read the book? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments, follow my blog for more musings and, as always,
Best wishes in your life full of adventure,