When a child’s arm gets bitten off early in a movie, you need to be prepared. Granted, in horror films, the opening sequence can be the most terrifying (see Jaws). In the case of the modern IT revamp, nope, things just get progressively worse.
We all know the Stephen King story: a bunch of loser kids in the 80s are terrorized by a weird clown. Something is wrong with the sewers, and their lives are haunted forever.
Although the original miniseries was pretty dang good, the movie surpasses it in fear factor. This is probably due to the cutting edge special effects. It’s also due, largely, to the style. The creators of this film utilized slow build suspense that escalated and escalated. (There’s a particular scene in a library basement that had me crying inside.) The technique of slow build was what made each and every moment so horrific and unforgettable.
Of course, I have to talk about Pennywise. I watched Bill Skarsgard in Hemlock Grove and despite some pretty despicable behaviors on that show, I still fell for the guy. He’s hot, okay? But here’s how things went while watching IT …
Prior to IT: Oh, hey, Bill. Mm, yeah, can’t wait to see you on big screen, baby.
At the beginning of IT: You’re pretty scary, but I can still see that sexy mouth.
Halfway through IT: Oh, but, Bill, you … uh … no! Bill, no, you … But …
Toward the end of IT: BILL, I NEVER WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN, YOU MONSTER!
I am seriously not one to overlook the brilliance of original Pennywise, Tim Curry, but the handsome Mr. Skarsgard has stolen the trophy for most effed-up clown of all time. Apparently the director kept Bill away from the kids during filming so they wouldn’t get friendly. The kids didn’t even see Bill as Pennywise until they were all in a scene together, so their terror is real.
Speaking of great acting, the little kids were perfect, including one troublemaker from Stranger Things. The writer gave each character interesting back stories, although evidently parents are all totally evil. Young actress Sophia Lillis really stole the show as the only female lead. Comedy was interspersed throughout, but even the moments of levity couldn’t compare to the bone-shaking horror.
IT is a film that should be viewed on the big screen, even if you do have to hide behind your hands half the time. It’s as beautiful as it is gross. Sitting next to my husband, trying not to choke on my Sour Patch Kids, I was frankly too scared to scream. I just sat there, clawing his forearm for two and a half hours.
How did IT end? Ha, I’m not going to tell you that. We’ve all been making fun of the miniseries ending for decades, but I will say this: I’m happy with the conclusion. I mean, I didn’t sleep at all the night after we saw the movie and I won’t go in my basement anymore, but, you know, totally worth it.