Movie Review: It

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Movie Review: It

Movie poster by virtue of IMDB.

Movie poster by virtue of IMDB.

Movie poster by virtue of IMDB.

Movie poster by virtue of IMDB.

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I saw about one sixth of It. I saw it through the cracks in my fingers as I struggled to watch such a gruesome masterpiece.

It has very large shoes to fill, being not only one of Stephen King’s most notable novels, but also a movie in 1990 that many consider terrible. Some people who grew up in the late 90s note it as the scariest film they have ever seen.

The newest version starring Jaeden Lieberher as Bill Denbrough, Finn Wolfhard as Richie Tozier, and Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise fills those shoes and more. It was delightfully terrifying, and is the first film within recent memory that made me feel like a cowering child. That feeling is what makes It work so well. The dialogue and characterization of the “Loser’s Club” puts you in their mindset as they become friends and then later as they experience the horror of It.

The movie is jarring, but intentionally so. The movie starts out with the murder of Georgie, the brother of the main protagonist Bill. The perpetrator is Pennywise the Dancing Clown, one of the many forms that It takes. The immediate presence of evil is used to great success in the film to convey constant uneasiness, much like what the kids themselves would feel. The film shifts rapidly from scenes of horror to character development and bonding of the protagonists. The result is a strange but captivating mix of Stephen King and Steven Spielberg.

The decision to bring It to the 80s was fantastic. It very much feels like a Spielberg film in the sense that it looks like a believable 80s small town that features young protagonists. It may be cashing in off of Stranger Things‘s success, but it is more than welcome here. The setting makes the film and the characters in it much more relatable.

The film’s scares land every time, but they are not the real horror of It. The constant presence of It leaves the audience scanning the corners of the screen, during the lulls in the horror, wondering when it’s going to start again. The subtle but effective use of “dutch angles,” or tilting of the camera slightly to evoke unease in the viewer, adds to the feeling of uncertainty. It feels omnipotent as he can be whatever, wherever, whenever he wants, and this is what our protagonists have to face.

My only true complaint about It is it’s slightly lackluster sound design. I feel much more could have been done with it.

It is a refreshing look at what not only a horror reboot can be, but a franchise reboot can be in general. It is truly terrifying. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat, it had me sunk into it, trying to block the horrors on screen.

Final verdict: 9/10.

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