Stephen King’s ‘IT’ reboot may not float with everyone
The long awaited remake of the famous Stephen King novel, “IT” is finally here to bring the story to the big screen for modern day audiences. While Stephen King is one of the most acclaimed horror authors around, the success of films based on his works has proven to be hit or miss. With this adaptation, the question is whether fans will be pleased or if their hopes will go down the sewer?
The story focuses on a group of kids growing up in a small town in Maine. During their summer vacation, the group, dubbed “The Loser Club” by their peers, discover an odd pattern of disappearing kids around their town. Their discoveries lead the team to a number of odd occurrences, most notably a murderous clown known as Pennywise. It is up to the group to try and stop Pennywise while trying to keep ahead of his unsettling tricks.
Easily the highlight of the feature were its protagonists. The child actors were fantastic and gave strong performances given the material they had to act with. For the most part, their characters were very likable and had great chemistry. From stuttering yet determined Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), to disturbed and witty Beverly (Sophia Lilis), to bad-mouthed Richie (Finn Wolfhard), almost all of them remained memorable as individuals and played off one another well.
Similarly, Bill Skarsgard as the film’s antagonist proved to be just as memorable. Rather unsettling at times with his over-the-top gestures, disturbing voices and vicious nature, the character of Pennywise proved to be an unpredictable foe who was not to be messed with.
The film does a good job at being set in the ’80s without shoving ’80s references down your throat. Instead, the film let the well-crafted production design do so and the editing and direction worked rather effectively. A good amount of the scares also work well, with a nice mix of over-the-top “Evil Dead II”-inspired horror scenes along with some disturbing imagery.
However, this is where many of the film’s issues might begin for some. Easily the film’s biggest problem is that it has a hard time balancing several plot and character elements. At times, the film seems like it is trying to pay homage to both ’80s kid and horror movies, but is held back by a rather conventional execution. The way the scares are implemented, both in direction and editing, feel very modern, yet there is still a sense of a different style and the two tones clash on numerous occasions. This is especially evident in the surprisingly heavy use of CGI during many moments which were not very convincing and takes the audience out of the experience at times.
Another issue has to do with the multitude of characters. With the rather large cast, there are a good chunk who are not given enough development, ultimately making them feel pointless to the story at times.
While “IT” is certainly not a bad movie, it does feel like very confused at times. While its acting, pacing and some of the scares work nicely, it is hard to get fully invested at times due to its inconsistent tone, juggling plot lines and overabundance of conventional horror tactics. However, if you are simply looking for a fun theater experience with some entertaining thrills here and there, then “IT” is still a decent choice.
Some decent scares
Nice production design
Some useless characters
Overabundance of conventional scares