Fear is a powerful force. In It an evil entity lives in the sewers and emerges every twenty-seven years to feed off of fear by taking people, especially children. In the opening scene, we watch mesmerized in terror, awaiting little Georgie’s fate as he meets Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), holding his lost paper boat in the storm drain. By the end of the scene, we know exactly what kind of horror film we’re in for. It’s going to be gruesome, disturbing and intense. Prepare for the nightmares.
Months after Georgie’s disappearance, his older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) believes he might find Georgie in the sewers. Bill and his friends set out to explore, but bullies in pursuit of the new kid detour them, thankfully. The new kid, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), has been researching Derry’s history and found some disturbing facts. Facts that might lead them to Georgie. And Betty. And Patrick. The more they find out, the more each of the kids encounter what they’re most afraid of. And that damn clown pops up to scare them at the perfect moments.
For full disclosure, I have not read the book by Stephen King the film is based on, nor have I seen the tv mini series from 1990. Maybe that helped me enjoy this film on its own so much. I’d love to hear how this film compares to its predecessors.
The scariest moments of It work mostly with jump scares and creepy images that get so in your face you can’t look away. It may sound cheesy, but even with some obvious CGI, man oh man is it effective! I found myself cursing with fear every time Pennywise barred his gruesome teeth. I nearly jumped out of my seat during the garage scene.
My favorite scene is not one I expected at all and stands apart from the rest of the movie. Caution, mild spoilers ahead! When Beverly (Sophia Lillis) is alone in her bathroom, she hears voices down the drain of her sink. She inspects, looking closer, when suddenly hair lashes out, wraps around her and pulls her closer and closer! She struggles and screams and just as we’re afraid she’ll go down too, blood shoots out of the sink like a geyser. It shoots in her screaming mouth! It flies in the air and coats the entire bathroom. It’s like Johnny Depp’s death in Nightmare on Elm Street on steroids. It’s like the elevator from The Shining opened in there. Tarantino movies don’t use this much blood! To top it all off, Beverly’s father can’t see the blood. It makes Beverly wonder if she’s losing her mind.
What makes It such an enjoyable film is the great cast of kids. Bill and his friends are a fun batch of outcasts. Richie (Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things fame) is the skeptic full of dirty wisecracks. Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) is the little hypochondriac, giving us plenty of unwanted facts about AIDS and gray water. Ben is the new, lonely and smart kid that bullies pick on because he’s fat. Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) is the Jewish kid who doesn’t want to get into trouble. Mike (Chosen Jacobs) is the home-schooled black kid who lost his parents. And Beverly is the pretty girl the whole town has the wrong idea about. The bullies that plague the kids are just as well cast and strike fear in us just as strong as Pennywise does.
I don’t see It earning any Oscar nominations (okay, maybe one for makeup) or going down in film history as anything amazing or groundbreaking. But if you’re a horror fan, I highly suggest going out the theater soon to see It. It’s a wonderfully crafted bit of terror that can really make you jump on the big screen. The characters keep you emotionally invested and engrossed while the horrors keep you on your toes and your adrenaline pumping. I can’t wait to see how Chapter 2 goes.
“Time to float!”