Review: IT (No Spoilers)

By Angel

Movie Description: “A group of bullied kids band together when a monster, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children.”

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Story

I was expecting to really love this movie, but I thought it was just average, which isn’t a negative because making a good film is almost impossible! The story hooked me at it’s most iconic part which is when Georgie talks to Pennywise from the sewer. I didn’t think this interaction was perfect and I’ll explain more when I discuss performances, but I should have been scared and definitely was not. This movie didn’t frighten me at all, which was odd because I’m an easy scare. There are things that happen in the story that are horrific, but their impact was diminished when the CGI was noticeable to me. For example, Pennywise bites Georgie’s arm and it’s awful because you see this kid dying, but the bite effect looked really silly to me.

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The scare tactics, including jump scares, presented to me within this adaptation did not find a way under my skin. I thought there wasn’t enough effort in creating new ways to terrorize the audiences in a refreshing way, it seemed like the typical predictable format of the genre which I’m already numb to. The humor was great until the jokes started to get redundant, (your mom jokes, penis jokes) and it stared to feel annoying. The tone didn’t blend well, there’s a scene between the Losers Club and bullies where they are throwing rocks at each other and it feels like it belongs in a different movie. I never felt there was any true danger because of the drastic tone shifts.

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There was a new element they added to Pennywise as to how he made the kids fear him and that reminded me too much of Nightmare on Elm Street. The group of kids and the atmosphere of their journey together reminded me too much of E.T. or Goonies or any other movie or show, like Stranger Things, that just tries to do what those 80’s movies did without being it’s own authentic reality. I mean c’mon, there is even a Molly Ringwald look-alike and reference in here. Maybe I’m just tired of seeing this 80s campy-creepy decade over and over again.

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The personalties, relationships, and development of the protagonists as they overcome their conflicts was were very well done! Sometimes Pennywise’s motivations did not make sense at all and were not established, this is suppose to be a terrifying monster that eats anything that fears it right away, okay so why does IT do that and also why does Georgie die while everyone else floats? The battle in the conclusion was underwhelming.

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Performances

Finn Wolfhard stole the show as Richie with his comedic timing and delivery of the dialogue. He’s one of the main characters from Netflix’s Stranger Things and his character is extremely different here. He made me believe that he was this wise-cracking foul mouthed kid and it made me laugh extremely hard.

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Stephen Bogaert was fantastic as Mr. Marsh with the limited screen time he was given. Honestly, he could have been a great Pennywise because he had this unsettling, mysterious, and creepy presence to him. There was so much intensity in his physical demeanor and voice that kept me on the edge of my seat thinking what the heck is wrong with this guy and anyone around him should run. What made his performance standout was also his ability to switch to calm behavior that seemed approachable like in the bathroom scene with his daughter, much like Pennywise’s pleasant nature from the book. 

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I thought Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise was not frightening and I don’t think it’s entirely his fault. They really got the look down, he looks menacing, but then he opened his mouth and sounded like Scooby-Doo. There was some moments where I thought he shined, but then it was deteriorated by the use of CGI that they added. The CGI enhanced transformations of Pennywise was such a letdown as it was way too familiar and honestly a safe choice for terror. For example, the opening of the mouth and the countless dagger teeth is a common image from science fiction and horror films. My fear decreased the more I saw him because he seemed like a gag that was mainly used for jump scares. What made Tim Curry’s Pennywise perfect was his opportunity as an actor to create deeper dread through his acting which entailed more screen time and more dialogue.

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All the other actors had their moments that I thought were wonderfully nuanced enough!

Cinematography 

To me, great cinematography is when the visuals are contributing to the storytelling. A film should SHOW us what’s going on rather than tell us. When it comes to analyzing cinematography, simply, I ask myself, “Was this film nice to look at?” Then I can choose to get in depth and look for whether colors were symbolic, placement of characters in the frame, composition, lighting, shadows, and point of view.

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Was IT a nice film to look at….Absolutely! There was so many trembling images they were able to capture with the camera that I thought were beautiful as a horror fan. Chung-hoon Chung is one of the most influential professionals in the Korean film industry and he reassures that with the lens. Although the majority of what I saw LOOKED good, I did not FEEL the intended emotion of fear which is why I think the cinematography here did not improve the storytelling as much as it should have.

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Music

The score is extremely important in horror films because it sets the tone and can trigger a chilling sensation down your spine. The music from the miniseries is incredibly eerie. The original score here did nothing for me, the most effective sound I’m thinking about right now was music they used from New Kids on The Block.

Message

Becoming independent and mature is a part of growing up, stick up for others especially those who are being bullied, and battle your fears.

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Overall

This is one of the few disappointing movies I’ve seen this year and it’s because I expected it to be one of my favorites since I love the horror genre the most. Unfortunately, nothing impressed me. It felt like the basic horror film. The story dragged on and I was never completely immersed with the stakes of each individual or situation since I knew what was going to happen in the end. I was never afraid. The performances were great with unexpected characters and weren’t successful with the important ones. Cinematography looked awesome, but didn’t give me goosebumps. The music was useless. I love the message because they are important life lessons that every kid should learn. I hope I didn’t burst anyone’s balloons with my experience, I hope you go see this right away and love it as much as you can. Thanks for reading my review! My rating for IT is 7/10.

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Grade: C

 

 

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