IT makes you laugh about it
I don’t know how to rate the IT remake. It’s a movie that delivers on its promise to entertain but how do you write a review of a horror film that cracks you up more than it scares you? For realz, sometimes I’d forget I was watching a horror flick.
I won’t get purist and shit and huff and puff because some detail was different from the book, or because it was adapted to the 80’s, or certain characters experience other things. I’m not comparing it with the 1990 version because there’s no point.
What I can say though is that my experience was gratifying but because of all the opposite reasons one expects from a horror film.
Before you decide not to watch the film, let’s be clear that it’s not so bad that it’s funny. The thing is (no pun intended), that IT seems to me is like two movies that work within their spectrum.
Comedy is faya because you have three-dimensional characters producing the most genuine moments on film with on point dialogues and punchlines that hit the bullseye all the time. Every time a joke was delivered, the audience lost it. The theater was full, so having energy of hundreds of people laughing at the same time was legit.
In those terms the movie works, it entertains, it’s fun. Though for my taste, they indulged on the dick jokes. Yes, the character demands it and the delivery was perfect, but it would have taken two less to make it golden. Less is more.
Which brings me back to the horror portion of the flick. Many horror film masters have said that showing less creates more suspense, toys around with your emotions, keeps you at the edge of your seat with your heart jumping and your mouth half-open. The House of The Devil by Ti West comes to mind as a quick example.
But when you abuse the presence of the monster terrifying the kids of Derry, Maine, (where the story takes place), and you show it one too many times, the myth fades. I think I partially understand why they decided to splatter clown all over the movie and I wonder what Fukunaga would have done with the project.
Now, Muschietti’s ability to break down the genre and present it to you in a captivating way is undeniable. He knows where the camera should go to creep the fuck outta ya and what to fill that frame with to get a reaction from you.
His work with the Loser’s Club is genius and he captures scenes filled with authenticity backed by one of the purest types of human interactions: friendship.
In this case, the story about a group of kids supporting each other even when the world around them is crumbling into a circus Inferno saves the movie, not a clown with a serious case of strabismus.
I often get annoyed with horror films when they’re too predictable; abuse the jump-scares with loud music; use the same fx making your malefic protagonist shake or walk weird.
Well, this movie has that and then some. It starts pretty cool with sequences that don’t allow a pin pass between your butt cheeks. But then it becomes all too frequent and by the time you’re recouping from having the clown’s face all over the screen, you have it coming back all over again. A little too much ya know whaimsayin’?
I hella dug the 80’s Spielberg-esque vibe, the camaraderie between the characters that takes us back to Goonies, J.J.’s directed Super 8, Stand By Me and obviously Stranger Things. That’s its strength, the comedy in the film is solid in comparison to the horror, that’s why it felt like two movies.
Performances from Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon; the genius Finn Wolfhard with Richie; Sophia Lillis radiating with Beverly, Jaeden Lieberher as Billy, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie the lovable hypochondriac; Wyatt Oleff as Stanley and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, are all impeccable and by far the best element of the film. As a horror flick, it doesn’t work so much. If you seek a few butt clenches and the cold sweat scares, you might get a few but that’s it.
Of course, my right brain counter argues by saying the movie is sentimental and precisely because of this, it entertains by combining two genres rooted in the most basic human emotions.
Experiencing the reaction of the people and the connection that bounds an audience, especially while watching a film, makes my appreciation of the movie a bit slanted in its favor. When you laugh with a group of people magical things happen, and we need more experiences where we can laugh together, even if it means watching a movie about killer clowns.
Pennywise is friggin’ ugly and isolated, it’s pretty scary. I suppose that if you have a natural aversion to clowns you could be dirtying your undies, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen before and that’s kind of a turn-off. This perverse buffoon is personified by Bill Skarsgård who does an awesome job, but for me, he’s not as creepy as Tim Curry’s (yes, I did compare, couldn’t hold it).
Much like in Stephen King’s novel, Muschietti explores the fears of its characters, feeding of off their personalities, what scares them and their family dynamics which at times are scarier than the clown itself. This gives depth to the film, yet more real life fear and less clown would have made this movie a solid must-see.
Until not too long ago I advocated watching movies at the theater, but I’ve become more selective and if I can stream it later and don’t care to watch it on a huge screen, then I’ll wait. I’m not advocating for you not to go to the movies, or to take a date or watch it alone so you can scream like a baby. There’s a charm when you experience intense feelings with other people, there’s value in that.
I can’t say I’m disappointed because I really liked the movie, it was a surprise that I liked it for unexpected reasons. In any case, you should watch it, if anything, just to look into the horror and laugh about it.