I want to start out this review by stating I am not a fan of the 1990 IT miniseries. It was just not good and although Tim Curry is a fantastic actor his portrayal of Pennywise just didn’t do anything for me. With that being said, this reboot of King’s book blew me away in every possible way. Awful modern scary movies bait audiences in with scary trailers only to have their movies are filled with cheap jump scares, one dimensional characters and a garbage script but the best of the modern horror films feed off our real fears and things that we will think about for weeks after leaving the theater and that’s exactly what IT did. Not only did IT feed off the very relatable fears of the children but the movie so perfectly shows how trauma has affected these kids and made them vulnerable. Although the kids are afraid of things like a scary painting, bullies and…..clowns. It’s the trauma and loneliness that these kids face that makes the movie work. The self branded “Losers Club” must come together to fight Pennywise “The Dancing Clown” despite all their fears and trauma which makes us care and makes us relate in a way that gives it a coming of age movie type of vibe.
It is a fantastic coming of age movie, not just a horror film. It gives me the same vibe as Stand By Me or The Goonies. The kids in those movies had a protagonist more based in reality but it is the same idea.
The growth of the characters and the group as a whole with only the help of friendship, love and the mutual side effects that come with dealing with an interdimensional evil clown who’s trying to feed off your flesh and fears turns out to be absolutely beautiful when it could have been so cheesy. The way all the adults are portrayed does a huge service to the story as well. Every adult in the movie has their own dark side that sticks out like a sore thumb. This makes us as viewers realize how much more vulnerable the children are and makes us remember how scary and lonely it is to actually be a kid. Nobody who sees this movie has ever been stalked by an evil shape shifting clown but everyone who sees the movie remembers what it was like to be a kid. We all had friends like Richie and Eddie, We all had a crush on a girl like Beverly Marsh so we really feel for these kids and wish we could be there to help them fight Pennywise. There are movies that try to be relatable and try to make us care about the characters but it comes off as disingenuous. Not IT, IT does an incredible job of making you care and making you feel for these kids in such a real way.
It also does a great job of making us laugh. The screenwriters did a fantastic job with the horror as the movie had me sleeping with the lights on for a few days but it was also was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Lastly, the glue that held this movie together was the performance by Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. I had never seen him act in anything previously so I was nervous, wondering if he would do justice to such a legendary, beloved character and all I can say is “wow”. Skarsgard really brought it. The smile, the laugh, the mildly childish tone of his voice, all of it was terrifying and amazing at the same time. He brought something so fresh to this character and his own touches on what Tim Curry did 27 years earlier were just perfect.
IT joins movies like The Babadook, The Witch and The Conjuring as the best of the 2000’s and I believe like all three of those movies it will go down as a genre classic. I will be the first in line to see IT: Chapter 2 in September 2019.