IT Review - Is IT worth seeing?

IT Review

Runtime: 135mins | Director: Andrés Muschietti | Rating 4 Stars

I went into Andres Muschietti’s adaptation of IT with high hopes of success, but an expectation of disappointment. It seems far too common these days with horror films that their trailers give the promise of a suspense filled film that doesn’t rely solely on jump scares, but then that is exactly what they turn out to be, leaving the only true horror being the price you paid for a ticket to see such rubbish. Fortunately, IT was not one of these, and was very enjoyable.

Given the hype surrounding the film that the trailer caused, with it breaking the record for the most views on a trailer in a single day, I desperately wanted it to be a genuinely scary, and engaging film. I must admit now, I didn’t find it scary. At all. In fact, I actually found it a very funny film which had me laughing out loud multiple times – not the usual reaction a horror film elicits. Whilst I had entered hoping for a scary film, I came out not caring at all that it wasn’t. Instead, it’s actually a great mixture of a coming of age film and horror – a strange combination I admit.

For those that haven’t seen IT yet, or don’t know what it’s about, the adaption of the famous Stephen King novel follows a group of children self-titled, ‘The Loser’s Club’, in a rural American town called Derry. The children, once broken up for the summer holidays, start investigating other children who have gone missing. This leads them to the realisation that every 27 years, some tragedy occurs in Derry. Ultimately, they discover that IT is responsible for the tragedies, so decide to confront him to end the cycle of disasters.

Considering it’s promoted as a horror film, the horror aspect was less present than I hoped it would be given the fantastic trailer. During the film, IT looks absolutely terrifying, with his menacing voice and seemingly endless supply of drool coming out of his mouth. This disappointed me as I felt that being such a terrifying looking character, he could have been utilised more than just running at the screen, screaming hysterically – an age old, and obvious jump scare tactic. Whilst it’s true that he’s menacing and there are several very tense moments in the film, none of them left me genuinely scared, or even really made me jump (except one, which I won’t mention in case those who are reading this haven’t seen it yet). This led me to think that perhaps it wasn’t intended to be that scary, as the whole point of IT is that he morphs into your worst fears. Given that we are experiencing him morphing into the worst fears of a child, rather than those of an adult (or even our own), maybe that’s why those fears weren't genuinely scary to me, other than a tinge of nostalgic unease? This thought seems to hold weight given IT: Chapter Two is already in the works, and is rumoured to be much darker and scarier, which would make sense given it will be from the perspectives of the children 27 years on, when they have reached adulthood.

Whilst it would have been easy to fill screen time with Bill Skarsgård (who does an amazing job, by the way) providing jump scares, instead, a lot of the film is based on the children and their own relationships between themselves and other characters. All the common tropes of a coming of age film are shown in the film between The Losers – friendship, love, anger, finding confidence in yourself, and so on. The relationships between the children in the film are very charming and often incredibly funny. Richie for example, the funny loud mouth of the group, frequently makes amusing ‘your mum’ jokes at the others. Whilst these could seem immature to an older audience, they provide comedic relief from the otherwise very tense and relentless presence of IT. A favourite quip to illustrate this was when Ben is explaining the origins of Derry as a town that used to hunt for beavers, and Richie quickly interjects whilst raising his hand enthusiastically for a high five saying, “It still is, boys! Am I right?!”

In conclusion, all things considered, I thought IT was very enjoyable despite delivering more as a coming of age film, rather than a horror - Think Jon Watts’s Clown meets Stand By Me. Having not seen the entirety of the previous TV miniseries starring Tim Curry, I can’t say knowledgeably if Skarsgård did a better job than him, but I found him to be a very eerie, creepy and convincing villain (even if not utilised as best as he could’ve been in my opinion). What the film lacked in horror though, it made up for in comedy to produce one of the much better ‘horror’ films I’ve seen in a while. Now it’s just a matter of biding my time until Darren Aronofsky’s Mother is released to see if he does a better job of scaring me, which I will be reviewing soon after its release on the 15th of September.

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