While I haven’t read any Stephen King’s stories; I have seen a fair amount of his cinematic adaptations. For every few movies I liked, there were two or three that I didn’t enjoy (Shawshank Redemption is great, Secret Window and The Cell … not so much). He has gone on record a few times stating he was not a fan of several adaptations such as The Shining or Firestarter; but also said he liked other movies better than the source material such as Stand By Me or The Mist.
The movie of the day is a reboot of a tv series that was adapted from a book … IT. Most of King’s television adaptations were horrible and further exemplified a straight to home video release. The only exceptions to the rule that come to mind from what I have seen are IT and 11.22.63. So I was very hopeful and excited when I heard IT would be coming back. The only production issues I remember is when the “inexperienced” directing duo (Duffer brothers” were replaced with Andy Muschetti who was fresh off an independent horror movie (Mama).
So where does the IT remake stand?
I would give it 6 “lazy eyed clowns” out of 10.
FOR THE UNINITIATED
IT follows a group of misfits nicknamed The Losers Club who are constantly bullied. As they are all close to befriending each other, a mysterious entity that disguises itself as clown and goes by Pennywise the Dancing Clown. We learn that he appears every 27 years. If the Losers Club wants to stop the cycle before any more friends or family dies, they will to have close the loop and find a way to kill Pennywise.
The two big names are Bill Skarsgard and Finn Wolfhard, but the other kid actors were good enough to keep an eye on for future reference.
The humor that gets sprinkled in throughout the movie is perfect. It helps cut the tension and add breaks so the next portion of horror / scares would not have to continually one-up the preceeding moment(s). Not only was the humor timed very well, but also very witty. Sure Richie had a lot of the “your mom does” variety, but there were also a few more jokes that didn’t rely on a baser level of thinking.
My biggest complaint was the film editing. There were so many jump cuts for no real reason, and it seemed very abrasive in my opinion. It slowed character growth to almost nothing and hardly tried to explain backstories beyond a short exposition dump. If they could have consolidated a lot of the shorter scenes into longer takes / shots that could have resolved most of my issues.
There will be several connections drawn between IT and Stranger Things since both are based around the late 80s, an outcast group of teenagers, and a nearly unstoppable evil force. They are right to make those connections since both also highlight that kid actors can actually act! On top of that, the other comparison would be to the original mini-series. It has been sometime I have seen it, but I remember it having a lot more jump scares and cringy moments.
I would say this is worth going to see in theaters. If you enjoy horror movies even the slightest, then you will definitely enjoy IT. I would recommend seeing a matinee since most horror movies tend to have talkative crowds.
My recommendation is a slight stretch. The movie focuses on a rag tag group of teenagers that takes on a mythological creature known as The Beast … it is of course The Sandlot. It is a classically nostalgic movie that everyone should have seen.