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IT May Be Best Horror Film in Decades

Bill+Skarsgard+plays+the+terrifying+Pennywise+the+Clown+in+Stephen+King%27s+IT.
Bill Skarsgard plays the terrifying Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King's IT.

Bill Skarsgard plays the terrifying Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King's IT.

Bill Skarsgard plays the terrifying Pennywise the Clown in Stephen King's IT.

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You’ll float too.

IT is the first cinematic adaptation of the 1986 odyssey of a novel of the same name written by legendary horror author Stephen King. Taking place in the fictional town of Derry, Maine, the novel and the film both tell the story of a group of seven kids that go by the label of “the Losers Club” who band together when numerous children begin to disappear. The Losers quickly find out that they are in for much more than they bargained when it is discovered that Pennywise, an evil clown whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries, is behind the disappearances.

One of the major accomplishments IT was able to achieve is the transcendence of the typical horror genre. In a Hollywood, where the idea of a scary movie is a low-budget, computer-generated-image (CGI) filled, awfully acted and written, and an easily predictable cash grab, a truly horrifying movie that is able to keep in touch with its humor and its heart while terrorizing audiences is genuinely a rare sight. IT did just that.

Twenty-seven years ago, the 1990 ABC miniseries of the same name captivated audiences. Over the course of two nights, actor Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown terrified adults and kids alike. In a generation where the miniseries just does not hold up after just under three decades, a remake was more than worthy of being made in order to horrify a new wave of adults and children alike. In order to do so, a much darker, more graphic, and overall different take on the fear-inducing clown was necessary. Bill Skarsgård was the perfect fit.

Skarsgård brings to the table the proper ferocity, viciousness, and petrifying manner the character of Pennywise needs in order to create an antagonist worth the scare and creates arguably the most recognizable and iconic horror villains of all time. Every motion and action of Pennywise in the face of the Losers was truly clown-like and sinister. Whenever Skarsgård appears on screen, the fear immediately builds up in the audience. Oscar buzz is already swirling around Skarsgård’s performance, as well as for many other technical categories. IT makes it very easy for movie fans to fall in line with the buzz.

However, even as Skarsgård takes this iconic role as Pennywise and revolutionized horror, his unbelievably and undeniably stellar performance was not quite the greatest part of IT. That honorable accolade falls into the hands of the kids of the Losers Club.

No matter race, religion, level of intelligence or level of courage, every audience member will be able to find a little bit of themselves in at least one of these characters. Perfectly cast for their roles, each and every Loser has their own share of screen time to shine and each and every one of them do.

Often in horror movies, and most films in general, child actors are seen as less talented and the quality of their performance is substandard and can be viewed as annoying. With these seven child actors, their capability is not an issue worth worrying about. All the actors give amazing performances and will be able to use this as a huge stepping stone on a path to great careers and very possibly stardom. Just as great as the Losers Club was the bullies led by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton), who often ended up being just as terrifying as Pennywise at moments.

Andres “Andy” Muschetti’s direction of this film was masterful. In every cut of the camera, in all the shots of each scene, it is very easy to appreciate the beauty of the camerawork and the diligent work put into making everything easily visible instead of the stereotypical “shaky-cam” technique, in which directors and cinematographers decide to shake the cameras in order to better depict the intensity characters are involved in, but it can become disorienting. Muschetti made sure his vision was exactly and precisely what appears in the big screen.

In addition to all the positives, a very nice score composed by long-time horror composer Benjamin Wallfisch accompanies the movie well. The editing allows the usage of the music to at times better intensify and at others better calm the situations in line with the emotions and moods of the Losers. In times of relaxed friendship-building moments, numerous beautiful piano medleys can be heard. In moments of extreme stress and terror, heavy drums and intense violin will blast out of the speakers.

There are truthfully only two flaws in the entire two hours and 15 minute runtime. At moments of character build-up and outside of Pennywise’s confrontation of the Losers, the pacing takes a bit of a hit and things feels a little slow. However, it’s only for short periods and doesn’t affect the overall enjoyment of the experience. Also, for the first two occurrences of Pennywise’s violence, the visual effects are not the best. That is more so attributed to the $35 million dollar budget than the movie itself.

FINAL THOUGHTS: IT is a film full of intense, gripping scares that will leave viewers watching the shadows on the way out of the theatre but also includes enough heart and humor to have the same viewers quoting the lines and laughing long after the credits roll. IT is one of the best movies of the year and one of, if not the best horror movies in recent decades. IT is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and could not be recommended more for fans of this style and genre.

SCORE: 9.6/10

 

 

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IT May Be Best Horror Film in Decades