In many ways, IT represents the metatextual fear that much of Hollywood’s horror film audiences face.
The cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s IT proves itself worthy as being an adaptation of one of history’s most noteworthy horror texts. Directed by Andy Muschietti, the film earns its place with fantastic imagery, and a classy use of scare tactics – something that seems all too difficult for horror movies these days. With the addition of an astoundingly talented cast and a balanced script, IT delivers an experience that is every bit a psychological terror fest as you’d imagine.
And even though there are no orgies (y’know… that one) in the movie, there’s no way you’re taking your kids to this.
IT follows the story of the intricately mapped town of Derry, which has been victim to a ruthless shape-shifting predator every 27 years. Most of the entity’s victims being children, the movie revolves around a group of seven young outcasts as they bond over a shared vengeance for their missing friends and family, as well as a slew of encounters with It.
The Losers Club is played by a spectacular bunch of young talents, including Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip), Sophia Lillis (37), Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy), Chosen Jacobs (Cops and Robbers), Jack Dylan Grazer (Tales of Halloween), Nicholas Hamilton (Captain Fantastic) and Jackson Robert Scott, making his film debut. The cast absolutely nails delivery, through traumatic experiences and a tonne of nonchalant vulgarities and sexual jokes, successfully holding the film despite the lack of any leading adults.
There are many elements of IT that make it somewhat of a conventional shocker. Human complications are a major part of the plot, though they provide natural premise for all of the movie’s happenings. The movie utilises many computer-generated graphics, setting up for a stunning gore fest, the kind that makes your skin crawl.
It, played by Bill Skarsgård, is not just a corny tease. Moments with his character are well placed, and take a significant portion of the movie as it it adopts different forms to terrorise the children right where they hurt the most. With the use of modern techniques whilst retaining a somewhat classic portrayal of the supernatural villain, It creates a compelling experience for audiences.
The movie, does however, fall victim to the use of some horror tropes that prevent it from surpassing the standards of flashy horror. There seems to be an overt, sometimes unnecessary, focus on CG and visual presentation as the movie progresses – suddenly It’s creepy smile and yellow eyes just don’t cut it anymore. Characters occasionally make the typical, illogical decision or two.
Much like the alien entity’s ability to shape-shift into an individual’s worst fear, the movie is a mishmash of some of the worst traits of recent blockbusters: it’s yet another adaptation; it’s another reboot; it strongly, and clearly sets up for a sequel.
Yet… the movie still works.
IT is out now in all theatres… and IT is TERRIFYING!