IT is probably my favorite movie that I’ve ever watched from behind the gaps of my fingers. I think that the first thing I’d like to add is that I am not a horror movie fan. In fact, I don’t enjoy the genre much at all. But if there were more horror movies like IT around, I think I’d have a much different opinion.
Directed by Andy Muschietti, The plot of IT revolves around an outbreak of mysterious disappearances in the small town of Derry, where people seem to go missing daily. But once Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes missing, he becomes obsessed with solving the mystery. Uniting with fellow members of the Loser’s Club Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), The Loser’s Club each experience Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and team up to fight the evil clown.
The remake of Stephen King’s classic movie is visceral, heart-warming and scream-inducing all at the same time. Multiple times in a scene I would be forced to laugh and recoil in terror seconds later. I think that has a lot to do with the magnificent cast that was put together. The Loser’s Club is absolutely charming, and not once was I distracted by acting abilities. That is a testament to the talent of these child actors, and their humor and interactions with one another could carry a movie that didn’t involve a child serial killing clown. Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard as Richie stands out in particular, as he delivers back-to-back memorable lines that, while are absolutely raunchy, capture the heart of a 13-year old kid. Another standout performance was Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, who brought a very real anxiety and depth to the character with his performance. The only downside of the Loser’s Club cast were Chosen Jacobs as Mike and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley, who were great in their roles but simply weren’t given as much time in the story to develop.
It’s very apparent from the very first scene that Bill Skarsgard’s interpretation of the Murder Clown Pennywise is very different from Tim Curry’s portrayal in the original miniseries, but that’s honestly for the best and Skargard owns the role. There are quite a few sequences where Skarsgard solidifies his performance as one of the most engaging horror movie villains in years. Thanks to Andy Muschietti’s directorial talents and Skarsgard’s commitment to being absolutely terrifying, we get to see some horrific sequences. My personal favorites include a sequence including a projector, and a horrific dancing scene that drifts into the uncanny that’s hilariously uncomfortable to watch.
IT was great in all the right ways. It was wonderfully paced, and instead of presenting itself as a pure “horror” movie, it was a mish mash of genres. There were elements of fantasy adventure, that were mashed up with the horror genre and that helps the movie stand apart. It could be just as heartwarming as it could be horrifying, and it’s a testament to all the pieces of the film that it was able to pull it off. What could have been cheesy comes across as incredibly sincere, and it captures the soul of Stephen King’s style.
While many will still prefer the original miniseries, I personally found the 2017 installment of IT to be my favorite version. Bill Skarsgard’s performance doesn’t take away from Tim Curry’s portrayal, simply because it’s so different. I’m excited to see how the story wraps up in IT: Chapter 2, but if you consider yourself a fan of the original series, a fan of horror movies, or you’re just like me and are simply curious, I would absolutely recommend this movie.