After the month of August has given an overall let down for theater goers, how refreshing is it that the movie to bring the experience of big screen ecstasy is not only a horror movie, but a remake? Well, you cannot deny IT.
Based off the book from Stephen King, IT is one film to satisfy not only fans of the horror genre, but those who think they don’t like horror films as well. It relies not just on the villain (whom Bill Skarsgard plays beautifully) but the idea of him as well. The film starts off with the death of a young boy months before the summer of 1989. We meet his older stuttering brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and some of his friends, including Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), a hypochondriac, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), who spews one liners like a pro, and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), preparing for his bar mitzvah. There are other new kids as well that are adding to the “Losers”: Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), a social outcast with a good heart, Mike (Chosen Jacobs), who is homeschooled, and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), with her own troubles at home.
I had flash backs of another great Stephen King adaptation, Stand by Me (1986), while watching IT. If you cannot appreciate the horror aspect of this film, then you will certainly love the coming of age aspect. Ah, the middle school days, when guys acted tough, swearing all the time, and noticing the female body. All of that (and more) is played to perfection thanks in part to the perfect young cast (all of whom are mainly unknown to me, except for Wolfhard, who plays Mike in Netflix’s Stranger Things).
Like all wonderful horror movies, IT has a collage of breathtaking beauty. Consider a scene towards the end, when one character is waking up on the ground, and it almost looks like they are in a glass bottle. There is also a bathroom sequence that, while I will not spoil it, is destined to be one of the most talked about horror scenes of all time. Blood never looked so gorgeous, and I cannot credit director Andy Muschietti enough.
Perhaps what Muschietti does best is trust the intelligence of the audience. He keeps the perfect pace so that we (or at least those like me who never saw the original with Tim Curry) are figuring everything out as the characters are.
Parents, it is clear the movie is rated R for violence/gore and lots (and I mean lots) of children swearing (there is one scene where the kids, including Beverly, do go swimming in a quarry, wearing nothing but underwear. Still, I noticed a few young people (no younger than 9 or 10) in the audience I was at. I guess it is up to you, but, if it were my kid, I would say middle school and up.
Admittedly, I must say the movie did start off a bit slow for me after the opening scene, but I gradually eased in to what is surely one of 2017’s best films. Two things went through my mind as I left the theater. The first was that I need to reevaluate my list of the top ten movies based on Stephen King novels (IT is not the best, but is surely up there). The second is that, if they start working on a sequel, I would personally not mind waiting another twenty-seven years.
I am sure Pennywise would agree.
Overall: Four and a Half Stars **** 1/2