I hate clowns. Hate clowns. Ever since “Poltergeist” I’ve hated clowns. Scary looking freak ass weirdos. That’s the best description I can give as far as my hatred of clowns. I was scared of the original “It” way back when it was the ABC mini-series with Tim Curry. That didn’t help. All these years later though, I was dying to see this remake. I like being scared in a movie. I eagerly await next months “Cult of Chucky” hoping I get scared all over again with that little jerk. With all that said, I’m excited to say “It” scared me a lot. Not nightmare inducing, (Irma was a little heavy on the mind) but enough to not really feel at ease in the dark. Now I can’t lie and say it’s as good as the book because it’s not. It is however, a very nice slice of the book that is sure to make you hate clowns all over again.
“It” feels like “Stranger Things”, and I think given how crazy everyone went over that show, that’s a glowing endorsement. Unlike the mini-series and the book, we aren’t shown anything in flashback sequences. Which I feel allows you to feel closer to this gang of losers. The Loser’s Club is great in this. Set in the 80’s you get plenty of time sensitive stabs and jabs mixed with kids constantly talking about the sexual encounters they all have with each other’s moms. They felt like a group of us would be back then. Even Eddie in this movie is a lot tougher than he was portrayed in either versions of the story. Pennywise (the evil clown) uses all their fears against them in clever ways with a bit of deviation from the book, but nothing so jarring that it hurts the characters. You basically see these kids have an us against the world mentality because in a lot of ways it is. Adults don’t see these scary moments or scenarios these kids are seeing. One scene has blood erupting from a sink drain, and completely covering the walls. Bev’s Dad comes in and doesn’t see a drop of it. The kids all do, and have an odd montage of all of them helping clean up a disgusting bathroom.
Which wouldn’t mean much if Bill Skarsgard wasn’t perfect as Pennywise. He steals almost every scene he’s in with an over the top performance. Watching him in action was hypnotizing as you wanted to turn your head and not look, but you had to. It felt like you could easily miss a small twitch or tick that would bring even more intensity to the situation. Sort of felt like seeing Joker in Dark Knight where those little things really add up. He plays the character with such a glee and odd charm that you are always waiting for him to be back on the screen. He’s scarier than Tim Curry’s version in my opinion.
Now for the nitpicks. “Deadlights” were not even explained. All the sudden, Pennywise grabs Bev and she looks down his throat and goes catatonic. She explains she has a flashforward and a dream, but that’s about it. In the book and movie, they explain the “Deadlights” makes you catatonic and terrified out of your mind. Also, Henry Bower’s character didn’t lose his mind like he did in the other versions and it should be interesting to see how they work him into “Chapter 2”. Of course, we all knew Bev’s antics in the sewer weren’t going to be in the movie, but I think a “blood oath” serves its purpose. There’s some other things people have harped on like Ben being the library nerd instead of Mike, and I’m sure for the most dedicated fans it can be a deal breaker. On its own two feet though, without those versions, I enjoyed it for daring to change some things for hopefully an outstanding sequel.
The hype train was real. The movie is what we all wanted. To be terrified in a movie again. Too many horror movies come out these days as watered down simplified bastards of the originals. “It” smacks you in the face and doesn’t apologize for it. It takes one of your deepest fears, puts you in a story with friends just like you have, and then sets the monster after you. It’s a Final Fantasy of a horror movie in that you get the worst luck but you have your friends with you to take down the villain. If you’re on the fence about seeing this grab a friend to hold you, and don’t miss this. It’s the R- Rated “Stranger Things” we all wanted.