Movie Review Monday

It (2017)

Since the moment I heard this movie was being remade, I knew I wanted to watch it. I kept up with the news and got butterflies in my stomach when they released the first images of Pennywise. I watched the trailers. I was ready.

The first time I watched the original It movie (1990), I was a freshman in college. The film had been out for 6 years, but it still scared the hell out of me. Tim Curry was amazing as Pennywise (but he’s amazing at whatever character he plays), and I jumped so many times throughout the film.

Then, came the end. I won’t lie: I was disappointed. I had expected so much more, especially after the build up and tension throughout the rest of the film. I laughed at myself for getting so worked up. I rolled my eyes at the silliness that was the ending. (I’m purposely not telling you exactly what happened at the end because I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t seen it. I highly suggest you experience it for yourself).

Despite my disappointment with the original film, I was excited to see how the new film would be updated and how they would handle the end. I had hoped to see the new It in the theater, but it didn’t happen. Even when it was available for rent, I had to wait weeks to see it. I watch movies on the weekends, and the boys wouldn’t go to bed so I could watch the film. Finally, one night, they were distracted playing video games, so I rented the film.

I was not disappointed. There’s always a risk when doing a remake that it won’t live up to the original’s expectations and that the original fans will be upset. It’s quite possible fans were upset with the film, but I wasn’t. I thought the new It did the story justice and modernized it for a whole new audience.

Bill Skarsgård was absolutely amazing as Pennywise. He brought just the right amount of creep, full-blown scary, and not-so-scary to the role. My spouse really liked Pennywise, and I think the Bill Skarsgård’s version ranks as one of his favorite villains. He’s definitely in my top 10.

If there was a downside to the film, it would be that there is going to be another one. I’m fully aware that the goal is to make as much money as possible, and the best way to do that is to drag the story out as long as possible. I hope that it works and that the story doesn’t get stale.

The plus side to there being another film is that it can take its time to build more tension and scares and reconfigure the ending so it won’t be as disappointing. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t roll my eyes at the end of the next film.

For me, there wasn’t a lot of jump scares in this film. As a horror connoisseur, I know to expect them, but there are times I’m still taken by surprise. That didn’t happen this time, but that doesn’t mean the film failed to create tension.

What I think the film did really well was focus on fears, especially the fears of kids. It had irrational ones, such as being afraid of the abandoned house at the end of the block, but then it added another layer of real fears that the kids had to face. There were bullies, parents dying tragically, abuse, younger siblings disappearing mysteriously, and racism.

The play between the real fears and the irrational fears was done with brilliance, and having kids as the main characters made them mesh together well. The film does an amazing job of capturing childhood fears and how kids react to them. It also does a great job of showing that at some point in time, the irrational fears have to be put to rest and the real fears have to be faced. If the characters can’t do that, they won’t make it.

Pennywise becomes the embodiment of both the irrational and the real fears. If the kids can defeat him, they can be free. But the question remains as to whether or not they are successful in conquering him.

It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the original It film, but I have plans to rewatch it. I just have to find some time when the boys are distracted. I really enjoyed the remake and felt it added to the story instead of taking away from it.

If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it.  If you have seen it, what did you think?

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