Most of the horror movies of recent times are so focussed of scaring the hell out of the audience that it often messes up the core story. Directors ae so engulfed in creating disturbing visuals that the heart is somehow missing. And I, being a extremely scared of horror myself would cringe awys from these horrible visuals and spend most of the movie with my eyes covered.
But that is not the case with Andy Muschiettis’ remake of Stephen Kings’ It. The makers carefully fashion the movie as a coming-of-age adventure with creepy underpinnings — to allow the movie to transport us to a different world. Set in the 80s, it’s about a group of seven kids who witness and experience a terrifying demonic/monstrous presence as they set out to solve the mystery behind the disappearance of multiple children in their small town.
The movie is based upon Stephen Kings’ bestselling novel of the same name. Notable fact is that there has also been a TV Series based on the novel in the 90s. But infamously, Tim Curry’s (playing Pennywise the clown in the series) take on the character in the 1990 TV miniseries version was so over-the-top, it was laughable—not that you’re looking for understatement in your homicidal clowns. That’s where Bill Skarsgard shines. What he does with the role works well precisely because he doesn’t appear to be laboring so hard to frighten us. He doesn’t vamp it up. He’s coy—he toys with these kids—making his sudden bursts of insane clown hostility that much more shocking.
Like Rob Reiner’s classic Stand By Me, also based on a Stephen King bestseller, the new film It tackles big themes like the loss of innocence and the enduring friendships of youth. But this is a balls-out scary movie that doesn’t skimp on the gore or the thrills. Led by a kid named Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) whose brother went missing the previous year, this group of nerdish teenagers find themselves confronting Pennywise who feeds on children’s fears. In fact, the kid-bonding parts of the movie are actually stronger than the creepy-clown parts, even though images of that freakish, frilly fiend will be the ones that keep you awake at night.
The filming and portrayal of certian setpieces in It has an uncanny essense of Stranger Things (even a cast member Finn Wolfhard is here in the film), where too a group of teenagers are searching for their lost friend taken by a mysterious monster. Where this movie also differs from the other horror movies is generally in the horror genre, lot of religion is involved. Since there is no place for religion in both Stranger Things & It it makes the horror experience even more thrilling.
The film also works because you begin to care for the kids. Their performances are authentic as are the scenes in which they just hang out and trash talk, or face off against the school bullies. It’s impossible not to root for them when they find themselves faced with graver dangers.
I’m going with three-and-a-half out of five for It. This is a movie that brings back true horror into the screen after a long break. Watch it if you are in for the thrills and watch it for the strong performances by the cast.