Remakes, remakes, remakes. It seems every time you turn around, Hollywood is out once more make money by simply updating a previous hit. Often these remakes pale in comparison, but every once in a while, you get a film worthy of social media blow up and hype. This weekend, the highly anticipated, and over-advertised, IT remake crawls out of the studio shadows and attempts to make us face our fears. Can Hollywood bring King’s famous work into the modern century of film, or will it merely make us scream in fright at horrible it is. Robbie K back from a two-week hiatus to bring you another review. Let’s get started!
Creepy: Horror movies are supposed to be scary, and fans of my work know I love it when the studio crawls under my skin. IT has plenty of moments that creeped me out, primarily the use of shadows, sound, and those small details that teased the audience to the scares. A nice variety of tactics exists in this movie to make you squirm in your seat, all led by the deliciously evil Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and all his pasty white glory. One may find another of disturbing scenes in this movie, primarily in that cold, seeking stare he loves to use so much. Yes, It certainly mirrored the atmosphere portrayed in the book.
Acting: Seldom do I say a horror film has good acting, but IT hit a home run with all the actors chosen to bring the characters to life. Instead of the usual airheaded, shallow characters who did nothing but scream and curse, this cast portrayed a much broader emotional role…while still cursing. This group did such a good job that I actually liked and invested energy into the characters, which isn’t usually the case in modern horror cinema. While I can’t give shout outs to each one, I certainly will give props to how much they sold the summer adventure to me, almost like Stranger Things meets the Goonies, with a little more demented atmosphere on top. Of course, the real props go to Skarsgard, whose portrayal as Pennywise is certainly a major part to the horror he brings. His delivery is incredible, that shadowy, whisper like voice that mimics the element of the movie. Throw the laugh and creepy body acting, to get the complete demonic nature of Pennywise.
The Story: Stephen King knows how to write a story, and thank goodness, this director knew how to bring it to life. IT finally proves you can have a scary movie with a plot worth investing in. This version follows the book very well, managing to develop the characters, lay out the story, and still bring all the creepy parts into beautiful detail and length. The result is a more engaging movie, increased suspense, and an emotional roller coaster as you live the adventure through these kids. This aspect is my favorite component of the movie and certainly worth the price of admission, including the little revelation at the end…which fans of the book will know.
More Suspense, Less Scares: IT might be creepy, but I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be. I, nor my friends, didn’t jump at all. Despite creepy build-ups and a setting that welcomes scares, IT still has the same predictable foreshadowing that is used a little too often that it dilutes the big revelation. While it was certainly more suspenseful in regards to the adventure, I don’t foresee myself getting nightmares from this movie.
Unbalanced at times: IT has a lot of things perfectly done in this movie, but there are a few moments where they seemed to drop the ball on their characters. True, I haven’t read the book in a long time, but I seemed to remember each kid having almost equal involvement in fighting the shapeshifting embodiment of fear. In this film though, I felt they dropped the characters at time to the backburner, choosing to focus on just three of the main characters.
The Computer Effects: The past two dislikes are minor and just space filling, but the only major dislike was the CGI effects. When IT conforms into the more realistic entities crafted by makeup and costumes, I would feel grossed out, sickened, and get goosebumps. However, when the CGI moments came into play, the realism faded away to cheesy effects that were more humorous than terrifying. Sure, the creatures themselves would make anyone wet themselves, but their portrayal In this movie could have been maximized if they stuck to makeup effects. In addition, some of the convulsing moments were funny to watch, again due to the semi-realistic effects. While certainly not the worst visual effects, it could have used a little tune up to be honest.
IT proves that you can make a remake that doesn’t stink and may actually be truer to the book. While not the scariest movie to haunt the theater, it is fantastically creepy and will certainly get your skin crawling. In addition, the acting and story are fully developed and bring about a wonderful tale that will keep you hooked into the movie wondering where the end of the adventure would be. Yes, the computer effects need a little work, but otherwise a solid addition to the horror genre and a worthy trip to the theater.
My scores are:
Movie Overall: 8.0