2 palm trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
IT (2017) is an American supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti, based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King. 7 Young children are terrorized by Pennywise, a being who has haunted the town of Derry for centuries. They come together to fight Pennywise off, and fight their own demons along the way.
I’m bad at watching scary movies. I mean BAAAD, like hands covering my eyes every time the music gets scary, bad. My cop out has always been that I don’t like the horror genre, but truthfully I’m just a wuss. So coming from a horror novice such as myself, I thought the movie was… fine. While the cast was great, and the visual effects were strong; the visuals weren’t backed up by strong cinematography, and the story gets a tad repetitive at points. It certainly not an awful movie by any means, and horror fanatics may find it more to their tastes.
The single best thing of this movie, is the way the cast just play off each other every minute. Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophia Lillis in particular really carry the film with their performances. Jumping from humor to horror felt organic for the cast and was just a joy to see them perform on screen. Unfortunately Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise felt uninspired. It was serviceable but didn’t have any unique edge for it to stand out.
But while Pennywise didn’t stand out due to Skarsgard’s performance, his visual design was great, along with many of the practical effects used throughout the film. My main gripe however is that the camera work felt pretty safe, there wasn’t anything to compliment the striking imagery. So at times, a few of the spooks felt like a silly juxtaposition to the world around them, and it was difficult to figure out if it was intentional or not.
Now what I felt was the biggest narrative issue was the film’s repetitive nature. It doesn’t necessarily get old, but the second act seems to drag on a little longer than it should have. I felt myself unable to get very scared when each scare follows a very clear structure, and when someone as sensitive as me finds scares getting boring, that’s when you have a problem. Now you can make the argument that the “scares” weren’t structured to be frightening to the audience, but instead to move the plot forward. However, even following this logic, the problem with these scenes becoming repetitive still stands.
Now the biggest problem facing IT (2017) for me was the portrayal of Beverly in the film. Sophia Lilis’s isn’t at fault, instead the character of Beverly is inherently weak as a character. She’s unfortunately another casualty of Hollywood’s love of oversexualizing characters who have no business being sexualized. Along with her oversexulization, her fears felt unfocused and lead to pivotal scenes of the film feeling almost random. It’s a shame that IT didn’t feel as strong as it should have been. I enjoyed the film, but otherwise felt it was forgettable. Rated R 2h 15m