For all my talk about objectivity in reviewing, there comes a movie every once in a while that I still thoroughly, wholeheartedly enjoy despite its obvious flaws. Examples from this year would be King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Alien: Covenant. Last year it was The Magnificent Seven.
And last night, it was “It”.
What’s true of all of these movies mentioned above is that even though there are some fundamental flaws about all of them, they get enough right that it ends up being an enjoyable movie anyway.
In particular, what this movie does exceptionally well is create, flesh out, and characterize all of the child characters. Each kid is a believable child with interesting quirks, relatable struggles, and realistic dialogue. The movie does a fantastic job making your care about these kids and their dilemmas, and the way they interact with each other is extremely endearing. All the child actors were great despite a few moments of held-back performances.
The makeup and prosthetics of Pennywise the Clown were fantastic. Bill Skarsgård‘s performance was also exceptional and he really brought this character to life with the material that he was given.
The way the entire movie was shot was well above par. The cinematography really helped the movie flow from scene to scene despite the length of the film and despite how much it tries to juggle in the movie.
By far, the strongest scenes involved the children interacting with each other. When they weren’t interacting with each other and partaking in their adventures, the movie does tend to wobble around a bit. One of the reasons I liked this movie so much is that it shows legitimate strength in friendship. Apart, all of these kids are losers with nothing to offer anyone else, but together, they work extremely well.
Okay, onto the stuff I didn’t like.
The movie tends to suffer a bit tonal-wise. This didn’t affect the overall film, but it did affect its overall scariness. There were a lot of moments in the film that came more across as humorous than scary, and whenever the Stranger Things kid was in danger, and he started rolling out the curse words, I found that it immediately took the tension from the scene.
The powers of Pennywise are extremely ambiguous, and this also affected the scariness of the film.
One of the things that also took a lot of tension from the film was just how formulaic the plot was. The entire film seems to follow a checklist of Hollywood plot points that it made it impossible for me to pretend that I feared for certain characters’ safety. This is true in scenes with the clown, but also other dangers that affected the children.
There’s also a few scenes, especially during the end, where the movie decides that it’s gonna have its cake and eat it too.
It wouldn’t hurt to mention that there are a lot of loud bangs that worked as “scare queues”, and I honestly thought we were past that, Hollywood.
So yeah, It isn’t all that scary, and if your requirements for a horror movie stops and ends at “is it scary?”, then you probably won’t like this movie. If you think that horror movies can have interesting characters and a good story, then I would highly recommend this film.
And in honesty, even though most people didn’t think this movie was scary, there’s also a very large handful of people I talked to that were terrified from the film.
Me? I wasn’t scared from it, and the more I think about it, the more some of the plot points kind of irritate me, but I still loved this movie. I get it if you don’t like it, but this movie hit all the points I needed it to, and then some. If they make a sequel, I’ll see it, and if someone wants to see it with me again, I’d probably go and pay for my ticket as well. I’m glad this movie was well received, and I’m glad it’s gonna make some money. With that said, my thoughts on it as a reviewer are conflicted, and I’m giving this movie a somewhat generous