Yep. Clowns are still terrifying.
It is an adaptation of Stephen King’s classic horror novel. The movie focuses on the half of the book dealing with a group of children in the town of Derry who must face off against an evil, child-eating clown who also takes the form of anything the children fear most. The children must face their fears and join together to defeat the evil Pennywise and protect their town.
This is an excellent adaptation, especially for a horror movie. King’s novel is widely considered to be one of the best and scariest books of all time and this delivers that in movie form. The movie features some familiar scenes for those that have read the book (I’ve listen to some of the audiobook), while also changing some things to keep it from being too predictable. All of the actors playing the kids in the so called “Losers Club” do a great job and the portrayal of Pennywise is spot on. Bill Skarsgard’s take is incredibly creepy and, in my opinion, better than Tim Curry’s performance in the original TV adaptation. It’s possibly even Oscar nomination worthy. The movie is flat out terrifying and there are quite a few memorably scary scenes. But where It really excels is as a coming of age movie involving the kids. Their chemistry and back and forth is great. You truly want them to stick together and defeat their enemy. The movie also has a surprising amount of humor, which was a nice way to relieve some of the extreme tension it builds.
I don’t have too many complaints, but the movie isn’t perfect. There are some effects that look a little too fake and a little too extreme. I won’t spoil anything here, but some things could have been toned down a bit to help keep the realism the movie tries for. You know, as realistic as a movie about a child eating demon clown who lives in the sewer can be. Anyway, the movie is also long at about 2 hours and 15 minutes which is an exhaustingly long horror movie, especially because in this movie you feel like you never get a break. However, I don’t think shortening it is what is needed. Instead I think it needs to be a little longer. King’s book is so incredibly detailed and this loses some of that. If you add another 10 or 15 minutes, you can add in some more development for some of the characters that are a bit lacking. This adds in some time between the scariest parts and breaks up the tension, making it a little less exhausting. I know, it’s shocking for me to be asking for a movie to be longer, but hey, I’m full of surprises.
All in all IT is easily the best horror movie since The Conjuring and a great adaptation. With the movie being a commercial and critical success, the much talked about sequel, featuring the kids’ return to Derry to take on Pennywise as adults, is all but guaranteed, and I honestly can’t wait. IT’s intense, creepy, memorable, well acted, and even funny at times. Even with the couple issues I had with the movie, IT is good enough for a solid 4.5/5.