A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of clown, begins hunting children.
I was not looking forward to the new iteration of King’s It. Remakes tend to miss the mark for me and apart from the terrible CGI in the original, I did not feel that a remake was necessary. It (1990) is one of the few King adaptations that are actually pretty good. I had watched snippets of the mini-series as a kid and it had terrified me. Later in life, I’d watched the feature length version and loved it. I was one of those folks that were laughing at the new costumes and judging the film before it came out. I was expecting failure and was prepared to gloat about how right I was.
I wasn’t. It pulled in a record breaking $123 million dollars over its opening weekend at the US box-office with another $66 million overseas and critics have been singing its praises. This year has shown a big resurgence in horror titles making it big. Other films like Get Out and Don’t Breathe have also managed to far surpass expectations, the latter making $89 million at the domestic box office on a production budget under $10 million and the former grossing $175 million at the U.S. box office. This is all great news for us horror fans, but does “big money” equate to “good movie?”
In this case – absolutely. Andy Muschietti did something that so many modern horror film makers fail to do: he set out to make a film, not a ‘horror.’ I am all for the campy, cheesy and gory films that permeate the industry, and I am a big proponent of indie horror films, but if you want to make something truly magical, you have to first make it feel real. Hitchcock did the same thing in Psycho and The Birds. He tells a story where ordinary, unassuming, real people end up in horrifying circumstances. The films initially feel like you’re watching a romance or crime drama rather than a horror movie.
It feels, for much of the film, more like a coming-of-age movie rather than a horror film. The film does not center itself on It, but rather the everyday, very real struggles and emotions of The Loser’s Club. Puberty, popularity, bullying, lust, romance, friendship, loyalty, sexual abuse; there are a plethora of themes that the film tackles in all the right ways. It then folds all of these very relatable ideas into a very well cast (Bill Skarsgård is an awesome Pennywise) and constructed evil that successfully captures the essence of what King managed to portray in his phenomenal novel.
On the technical side, there was really nothing that I could fault. The casting was perfect, with all of The Loser’s Club absolutely stealing my heart. The score was typical, perhaps to the point of being too cliched — it most definitely worked though. The setting, costumes, cinematography, special effects… everything was pretty much what you’d expect of a big budget horror flick. I’d read some complaints about the CGI before viewing the film but personally found them to be utterly unwarranted. There were a good number of very memorable and very creepy scenes that I absolutely adored. I must add though that I really didn’t find the film very scary, but I suppose that if clowns freak you out, then this will definitely scare the shit out of you.
All in all, it was refreshing to see horror being taken seriously and with such respect. It has it all and it’s everything that a big budget film should be. Absolutely recommended if you haven’t seen it yet. Do yourself a favour and catch it while it’s still in cinemas. It is definitely worth the ticket price. Catch the trailer below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.