I’ve been a movie fan for as long as I can remember. In all those years of going to the multiplex I’ve come to enjoy several movie genres, but horror has never been my favorite. It’s not that I’m afraid of horro movies, it’s just that they don’t do anything for me. As I told a friend not to long ago, “You’ve seen one horror movie, you’ve seen them all.” But maybe that changed yesterday when the wifey finally convinced me to watch “IT.”
Before I get to the important stuff, I should mention that I have not seen the TV version of “IT” from several years ago, nor have I read the Stephen King novel which both movies are based on. Come to think of it, I haven’t read a King book since the early 1990’s. The point is that all I know about the world of “IT” comes from the 2017 movie.
And don’t forget: Possible spoilers ahead!
On a rainy day in 1988 in the city of Derry, Maine, young Georgie Denbrough goes missing after he sets off playing with a paper boat that his older brother, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), made for him. At the start of the following summer, Bill sets out with his friends “The Losers,” to try to find his younger brother who he believes is still alive.
However, in the process of searching for Georgie, the group, along with new members, Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Mike (Chosen Jacob) and new kid Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), discover that the town of Derry is the home of an immortal creature that can shape-shift and feeds on children by taking on the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård).
As I mentioned above, I’m just not a huge horror fan. But I was shocked by how much I enjoyed “IT.” I guess one of the reasons I liked the movie is because unlike most horror movies, “IT” has a great plot that kept me engaged from start to finish. From the moment we meet Georgie and Bill, you become attached to these people. Because of this one scene you understand what’s driving Bill the rest of the movie and you’re there with him for all of it.
Another thing in the movie that caught my eye were the visuals. This is the first horror movie that I can remember that used color to great effect. From Georgie’s yellow rain coat, to the bully’s chasing one of the kids in the forest. Even the underground scenes used the blackness of the location to enhance whatever was going on.
However, I should mention that in some of these scenes it was too damn dark to tell exactly what was happening. In a couple of instances, the only lighting the scene had come from the kids’ flashlights. But, I still thought the darkness added to the overall feel and look of the movie.
As good as the visuals and the tone of the film are, easily the best part of “IT” is the charismatic and talented cast. Each of the young actors gave their character a distinct personality, and motivations. They’ve joined forces to battle Pennywise, but each one has his or her own reason as to why they are there.
I thought all of The Losers were great. Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Ritchie (Finn Wolfhard), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer). These actors gave the film heart and humor. But I was happy to see that it was the kind humor that didn’t feel forced in a horror movie.
But for my money, the best character was Beverly (Sophia Lillis). Out of the whole crew, she had the most compelling story. Beverly has seen a lot of pain and suffering in her short life, and all of it thanks to her father. But it was wonderful to see her go from the bullied girl, to a total badass, and full fledged member of The Losers club.
At the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by “IT.” This wasn’t your run of the mill horror flick, this was an experience. The entire cast was terrific, the look of the movie was stunning, and the villain was actually scary for a change. As crazy as it sounds, “IT” may be the first horror movie I watch more than once.
“IT” final score: A-