One week removed from the movie industry pulling a Colin Kaepernick on movie theaters and took a knee for the Labor Day weekend. Hollywood is back with a bang, and by bang I mean fart. But fear not because that all might change with the release of IT, a remake of a miniseries from almost 30 years ago. I thought the director of this film has some major balls announcing a sequel a week before its release in a time where nothing outside Disney Studios is even getting coverage on IGN, but to my surprise, the film is actually something we haven’t seen in a theater the last couple of weeks, a decent movie.
IT is set in the small town of Derry, Maine in 1989. A creepy clown figure is going around and kidnapping and killing the children of the town. The increase of missing children draws the attention to a group of young kids called The Losers Club who experience paranormal activity all around town. This includes our main character, Bill whose little brother was attacked and went missing a year ago. Dealing with a shape-shifting entity that feeds on fear, the kids must band together, or perish if they are going to survive and there is no shortage of tricks in Pennywise’s sleeve.
Stephen King has scared people for years and clowns always seem to get a rise outta somebody. You even had guys dressed as clowns scaring people a couple of years ago, which blew my mind to the fact that no clowns were shot because that would have ended the clown phase real quick. Now I never bought into the fear of clowns hysteria myself, which is probably why I didn’t find the movie that scary, but what it lacks in scares, it makes up for entertainment. If you are wondering how this stacks up to the original, the film hits all the bullet points of the original novel so you don’t have to worry about the film taking liberties here.
Pennywise is played straight for the most part, he doesn’t have that campy charm that Tim Curry had years ago. When it comes to the villain, the film takes a more modern horror approach with him. You can see the inspiration from films like The Conjuring Series but it doesn’t pull off the tension quite as well. The kids in the film, they hit it out of the park.
Casting young teens in a role like this where they need to carry your film could be a disaster, however, here the cast easily carries the weight. Smart, crass, and sometimes extremely crude, they excel at what is needed for them to relive those characters from the original. Now, this film only gives you the perspective of the characters as kids, if you want the adult portion of the story with them coming back to town and fighting a spider demon (possible spoilers, I dunno, the book came out over 3 decades ago, get over it) then you have to wait for the sequel. It’s easy to forget the original IT was actually a miniseries which explains the film’s 135-minute runtime.
As entertaining as the cast is, the story is pretty directionless for the most part, if Pennywise wasn’t targeting them, there wouldn’t be much of a plot. Outside of the opening scene with Pennywise tricking the young child into the sewer, the film doesn’t hold the same tension and uneasiness as we progress. If you are judging this as a horror, the film isn’t as tension-filled as another recent movie Annabelle: Creation.
With that said the movie is still enjoyable and worth a watch, especially seeing what we dealt with the last few weeks. IT is a good movie on its own, as a horror film, you may want to hold your judgment for the sequel to give it the fair judgment.