Hello interweb, Nate here! I feel kinda bad that I’m reviewing this film instead of Batman and Harley Quinn or Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I’ve been busy with college and quite frankly I really wanted to talk about this movie so here we go! I might get those reviews out if I get myself motivated to do so. Plus I recently saw Tim Burton’s Batman from 1989 so I might review that too! As always, SPOILER WARNING!
Movie Title: IT
Produced by: New Line Cinema, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, and KatzSmith Productions
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Writer: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman
Director: Andy Muschietti
Producer: Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, and Barbara Muschietti
Running Time: 2 hr 15 min
I’ve never read a Stephan King novel nor have I seen the original movie of IT before. Because of this, I am reviewing this movie from the perspective of somebody who know nothing about the source material. I’ve always knew the basic premise to the story, i.e. a supernatural clown goes around eating children, but I don’t know specific plot elements or characters. Overall, the movie was decent but that’s pretty much it. I was kind of disappointed in some respects because this is a horror film and therefore I was hoping to be somewhat afraid while watching this movie. That’s usually my biggest criticisms of the horror genre since I’m never scared by these types of stories even when I want to be. There’s some creepy elements in the movie, but nothing necessarily “scary”.
So, what’s the story? A supernatural clown named Pennywise is on the hunt looking to scare children to eat. One of these children happen to be the younger brother to our protagonist, Georgie. Our protagonist, Billie, sets off with his gang of losers to track down and kill Pennywise before it’s too late.
My biggest issue with the movie is that I think this movie would’ve been a lot scarier if instead of a supernatural, child-eating clown, we focus on the parents of the children instead. Now granted, this movie is based on the Stephan King novel and Pennywise is the main antagonist to IT. Therefore, you take out Pennywise as a character and it’s no longer IT. However, Pennywise just isn’t a scary character. He’s too cartoonish and creepier than he is horrifying. However, some of these parents are genuinely kind of scary to me and had potential to make this a genuinely scary movie. I mean, Beverly’s father scared me far more than Pennywise ever did. Maybe that’s because a supernatural clown is unrealistic while abusive parents are, therefore the knowledge that this could happen in real life adds to the scariness of the situation.
That’s kind of where the story falls apart for me. Not due to any sense of plot holes or anything, but because there’s two major elements in this film that doesn’t fit together. On one hand, you have a teen drama (even though I’m pretty sure these kids are anywhere between 12-14 and not typical teen dramas like 16-17 ish) with themes like bullying, child abuse, fitting in, etc. However, you turn around and a demon clown is going around killing kids. Take out the clown and the horror angle and you’re left with potential for a better teen drama than a horror flick. In fact, I probably would be more interested in that movie. Screw how Billie plans on killing Pennywise, I want to see the psychological damage Beverly suffers from living with an abusive father!
Which leads me to the characters so why don’t we start with Beverly? She’s easily my favorite character here and that’s because she’s the most interesting. All the main characters are bullied in some way, so being the only female character in a horror film and you can probably guess what she’s bullied for. I’m confused on exactly what she did since we hear more about the rumors rather than what actually happened, but regardless the school she attends has a rumor going around that she slept with a bunch of guys and therefore is labeled a “slut” by the bullies. Which I’m not sure exactly how that juxtaposes with her father who it is heavily implied has sexually assaulted her in the past, but I feel like it does somehow with sexuality playing a major role here. The scariest scene (in my opinion) honestly comes between her and her father as her father gets angry at her for talking to some boys and chases after her cause she’s his “little girl”. Maybe it’s the realism angle of a sexually abusive father as appose to a child-eating clown, maybe it’s just how the scene played out, or maybe it’s just that I related to Bev on a certain level. Either way, I found the dad here scarier than Pennywise ever was.
Billie also has some depth to his character that I could appreciate. Pennywise ate his brother, Georgie, at the beginning of the film so this is his motivation for killing Pennywise and leading the loser kids to win. I think I appreciated Bev’s character a bit more sense the complexity of discovering one’s sexuality is more relatable to me than losing a brother (plus sexual assault is more disturbing in my opinion, especially when it comes from a father); however, I still sympathized with Billie through the movie and the point where he shot Pennywise in the head while Pennywise was disguised as Georgie.
The other kids didn’t really do much and some are very forgettable. The only character outside Billie and Bev I liked was Ritchie. Ritchie’s the loud mouth of the group who never shuts up and quite often what he says is inappropriate, but often funny. There was this fat kid whose name I can’t remember. Fat kid also had a crush on Bev and even went as far as to write a poem for her. I honestly kind of wanted him to get the girl since that doesn’t happen to overweight kids in movies like this and he was sweet. Bev even teased him a little when they were in his room by showing him a boy band poster on his wall, but Bev hid it so the others wouldn’t see. Just cute teasing without any cruel intentions.
Pennywise I really didn’t care for. He was too cartoony to be scary and his character wasn’t interesting to me. They kind of gave him a backstory, I think, but I didn’t really care. The CGI on him was decent but I think this film would’ve worked better with practical effects.
Overall, I give the films a 7/10, it’s enjoyable enough to watch but it isn’t something I’d recommend as a must see. If you see it, you may like it more than I did since it’s getting a lot of positive reviews.
My Rating System
10 – Perfect: nothing is wrong about this movie
9 – Almost perfect: has one or two minor nitpicks that holds it from perfection
8 – Amazing: not a perfect film but still absolutely loved it
7 – Good: has a few problems but overall a good film
6 – Ok: has several major problems but I still like it
5 – Mediocre: neither good nor bad just forgettable
4 – Bad: a few major problems that ruins the movie
3 – Awful: lots of problems that ruins the movie
2 – Terrible: there may be one or two good things about the film but everything else is garbage
1 – The worst: literally nothing went right