This movie is not for everyone solely for the fact that it is absolutely terrifying. However, if you can get past the raw fear, this movie actually has a lot of good themes centered around childhood trauma, fear, and even some good laughs that definitely make it worth the watch.
The Good: The actors bring each character to life with memorable performances, uncommon of a lot of horror films
On the surface, this movie seems pretty straightforward: demon clown killing children. What’s not terrifying about that? But while many horror films rely solely on the terrifying imagery of the evil antagonist paired with eerie music, the actors becoming rather disposable factors to the level of intensity felt, the performance of the actors in It themselves is often what draws the greatest reaction from the crowd.
It, or as he is known in his favorite form, “Pennywise the Dancing Clown” is played by Bill Skarsgård and his performance is one that is hard to forget. It is not the sight of Pennywise that will make you lose sleep (which is already pretty scary on it’s own) but it is the mannerisms Skarsgård employs to bring the character to life. From his contorted movements, his voice, his smile, his drool, and most shockingly, his sense of humor, Pennywise transforms from your classic “scary demon monster” to something much more complex. While he is undeniably terrifying, he somehow becomes a character you are excited to see on screen. His scenes will leave you ready to cry, ready to laugh, and downright confused about what exactly you’re feeling.
Skarsgård’s performance does not take away from the brilliant casting of the “Losers Club”. While the appearance of Pennywise is often when the viewer may feel the most engaged to the movie, it is the individual personalities of the kids that makes the viewer want to keep watching, which is an important factor to have for a movie whose runtime clock’s in at 125 minutes. As the movie goes on and the characters are developed, you begin to realize that you’re really rooting for these kids. Oftentimes, it is enjoyable to watch, with hilarious one liners delivered from standout Finn Wolfhard that provides an extremely necessary comedic relief. Each of the members of the Loser’s Club adds an important dynamic to the friend group that drives the plot.
The Bad: Okay, but really, what exactly is… IT?
If I had to pick one complaint it would be the lack of background on the origin of It. For someone whose first introduction to Stephen King’s work was through the 2017 rendition, I was left with a multitude of questions about It. The explanation given in the movie is one that the children derived themselves and therefore is very simplistic. However, this reiterates the lense of the movie being through the eyes of the children. An adult character would most likely have the same questions about It that many viewers had, however, for a group of imaginative young children it is easy to accept the basic’s about the situation: “It’s here, it’s evil, and we need to defeat it.” It’s also highly probable these details about It’s origin were purposely reserved for the anticipated sequel, where the losers appear as adults.
The Ugly: Gory violence against children is hard to watch
There are many times in the movie that the director does not hold back when portraying the violence committed against these children. While this is obviously a necessary aspect to this movie, at times I had to ask, did this have to be so graphic? Perhaps the answer is yes, but just beware if you plan to see this, Mama director Andrés Muschietti does not hold back.
“Director Andy Muschietti adapts Stephen King’s 1986 tale of seven children banding together to fight off a shape-shifting, child-killing clown wreaking havoc on their small town.” ~ Daniel Gelb, Rovi