So I got to see an advance screening of IT the other night and I’ve been trying to really put into words how great the movie is. If you’re unfamiliar with the premise here it is:
In Derry, Maine in the summer of 1989, a group of outcast preteens known as “The Losers Club” fight against an immortal, shape-shifting entity responsible for the disappearance of dozens of children in their town, and are forced to confront their own personal demons in the process.
I’ll be the first to say that I was nervous when the movie was announced, then even more so when Fukunaga dropped out (although that seems to have been a blessing), but IT is hands down the best horror movie this decade and definitely top 5 of all time. I know a lot of people are worried about how Pennywise is going to be portrayed and let me set those fears aside now. He is absolutely terrifying in the best possible way in this film and beats out Curry’s in the original.
Don’t get me wrong, I grew up loving the original – couldn’t sleep for 6 months after seeing it but it’s definitely a product of it’s time. I rewatched it earlier this summer in preparation for this to come out and…. it’s not good guys. The best part is Tim Curry’s Pennywise and while it’s a fantastic performance it’s not actually all that accurate to how he’s described in the book at all. So if you’re worried about that just go in and enjoy the movie and set aside any expectation of him mimicking Curry – both performances are great but completely different.
I walked out of the movie most surprised by the level of talent in this cast – all of which are children (at least the main characters). The only other movie in recent memory that has had such a strong young cast is Harry Potter and frankly, I think it’s harder for kids to sell horror than magic/adventure. Highlights out of the cast are Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophia Lillis as Bill Denbrough, Richie Tozier, and Beverly Marsh respectively. Although there really wasn’t a weak link in the bunch.
If i had to call out one negative aspect of the film it’s that it cut out a lot of my favorite scenes from the book even though I knew it would have to do so or else it would have been a 5 hour movie. I expect people who haven’t read the books won’t even notice anything was missing. Another part that the jury is still out on is the era change. If you’re not familiar with the book or original miniseries, it’s split between the 1950’s and 1980’s. This film just covers the main characters first encounter with IT but moves the timeline up to the 1980’s with the sequel left to cover the adult portion of the story in present day. I actually thought the 80’s setting worked for the kids portion but I’m worried making their adult story take place in a time with smart phones and social media will take away from the timelessness of it. Although I definitely reserve the right to come back and decide it works perfectly if there’s no problems with it.
All in all I have to recommend everyone go see this movie. It’s the perfect mixture of Stand By Me and the most terrifying movie I’ve seen in theaters and really was a welcome treat after such a lackluster summer of movies.
Let me know what you think after seeing the film in the comments below or over on twitter at @dgood826