Before I even start, it needs to be said: I hate scary clowns.
Anyone who’s watched me on Evening for any length of time knows this – especially since every year, my co-hosts manage to terrorize me on Halloween by employing scary clowns to jump out at me.
You can imagine my dread about screening IT – the ultimate scary clown story.
FOOD/DRINK BEFORE SCREENING: Pizza and a big glass of red wine
EXPECTATION OF MOVIE: It was going to terrify me
That should explain my decision to have a big old glass of wine before the movie. But any comfort it may have given me before the lights went down quickly disappeared.
IT pulls no punches.
The opening scene, with sweet Georgie meeting the evil Pennywise, is brutal. It’s like a message to audiences: BUCKLE UP, THIS IS A HARD-R FILM.
Based on Stephen King’s best-selling book, this version of IT doesn’t cover both the childhood and adulthood encounters with the clown. It only explores the “Loser’s Club” as kids, and is told in a linear fashion.
I think it was a great decision because cramming both time periods into two hours would have cheated the underlying themes.
(Of course, the studio can also now double profits with an inevitable sequel. But it really is better storytelling.)
Rather than being set in the 1950’s like the original book, this version takes place in the late ‘80’s. I was the exact age of the kids during those years, so I loved the nostalgia of the era. There’s excellent music, memorable props, and a clever reference to New Kids on the Block.
I also fell in love with all seven kids – most of the characters are well-developed, and all of the acting is solid. Standouts are Finn Wolfhard, whose trash-talking Richie delivers the best line of the movie; Jaeden Lieberher, who plays a heartbreakingly sweet Bill; and Sophia Lillis, whose Beverly is complex and stunning.
As for Bill Skarsgård as “It,” what can I say? He’s totally, completely, horrifyingly convincing as Pennywise. He even helped the scary clown develop a new creepy feature – moving his eyes in different directions. It isn’t CGI – Skarsgård can ACTUALLY MOVE HIS EYES IN DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.
Long story short, he was well-cast.
As for IT, I have to admit – it’s a great horror film. I’ll probably never want to see it again, and I don’t want my kids to watch it until they’re 57. But if you love being scared at the movies, IT does not disappoint.
WHAT IS “HONEST REVIEW”?
I’m a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. I interview actors and filmmakers. I’ve worked in broadcast television for 20 years.
I’m also a Seattle wife and mom who works full-time and sits in an hour of traffic (minimum) every day.
Sometimes I’m tired when I screen a movie. Sometimes I’m traveling, and I miss my kids. Sometimes I’ve had a glass wine when I should have had a glass of water.
All of these things can impact my reaction to a film. Because I’m human.
So in an effort to write an Honest Review, I’ll always list the external factors that might affect my enjoyment of the movie. Then, I’ll give you my review. Then, you can decide if it’s useful or not.
What do you think of Honest Review or IT? Let me know at @kimholcomb.