“It” doesn’t clown around

Having not read a single Stephen King novel or seen an adaptation of one, I went into the theatre with a completely blank slate for this film. A few thoughts from friends, family and other folk gave me a few ideas on what to expect, but otherwise my mind was free of any spoilers or preconceptions. I knew it was supposed to be scary, and that was about it, but boy did that pay off. For the record, there will be some spoilers in the upcoming review so back out now if you want to stay unspoiled.

The movie focuses on a group of preteens from the fictional town of Derry, Maine trying to solve a long string of missing children cases and strange dreams they’ve been having. Nightmarish imagery, haunting visual effects and a terrific costume design for the titular creature round out most of the scare tactics used in the movie. Though in collaboration with one another they work spectacularly. The creature itself, Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård Atomic Blonde, Hemlock Grove) is played fantastically, giving people a legitimate reason to fear clowns if they already didn’t. A few other stellar performances include Richie (Finn Wolfhard Stranger Things) and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer Me, Myself and I), two very talented child actors that really take their roles to stellar heights. However, the stellar performances sometimes fail to counteract the poor, as there are a few noticeably stale scenes with some of the less charismatic actors.

The movie is both paced and shot very well, with images blending nicely together with nothing feeling very out of place in the small, late 1980s town. A few historical pop culture references and very well placed adolescent jokes make it a well-rounded film as well, as my friends and I found plenty of reason to both laugh and tense from fright during the course of the movie.

As with most horror films, “It” has a few issues with the storyline. A child having such extreme knowledge of land charters and townships here, a gang of bullies driving around unchecked here, but nothing so awkward that it can’t be glazed over by the narrative. A weak soundtrack is really the only major flaw of the film, as the only real standout songs were non-original pieces used mainly to emphasize the passage of time.

Overall, “It” is a fantastic movie to see, it’s issues being hidden by the excellent filmmaking. Well-written, well-acted and well-directed, this movie gives a rounded experience that anyone with a bit of courage will come out enjoying on the other end.

5 out of 5 Spurs.