The electrifying, jittery high that one experiences after a great horror film is a sensation that compares to no other. It is one, however, that is increasingly hard to come by these days, with plentiful cheap jump scares and unnecessary cash-grab sequels to mediocre horror flicks.
The most recent Stephen King film adaptation, though, does not disappoint, as any viewer is sure to stumble out of the theater both petrified and exhilarated. IT is a remarkably fresh take on King’s classic horror story that forgoes the stale trope of jump-scares every five seconds. Instead, it opts to genuinely terrify its audience by gradually increasing the frequency and intensity of the scary moments.
IT skillfully blends existential horror, gore and suspense to keep the scares fresh and the atmosphere electric with tension. Within the first five minutes of the film, it is clear that IT subverts standard horror themes to instead elevate itself to a class entirely of its own.
Directed by Andrés Muschietti, this film focuses only on the first half of King’s esteemed novel, in which seven self-branded losers band together to fight a vicious and terrifying entity lurking in the sewers of Derry, Maine. The members of the “Losers Club” are brought to life by a group of incredibly talented young actors, including Finn Wolfhard from “Stranger Things” and Midnight Special’s Jaeden Lieberher.
Alongside these young actors are equally gifted newcomers: Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs and Sophia Lillis. The characters are fantastically well-developed, such as in the scenes where the characters are outside fighting with Pennywise the clown; they joke with each other, swear like sailors and playfully rag on each other’s moms.
These characters also showcase surprising depth in poignant scenes that are reminiscent of Rob Reiner’s Stand By Me, another well-received King film adaptation.
Of course, the young actors are not the only ones whose performances make IT into a horror experience like no other. Bill Skarsgård’s performance as Pennywise is deeply unsettling due to his masterful blend of horrifying talent, impressive makeup and expertly rendered CGI. The frightening creature effortlessly morphs into a different specter to terrorize each member of the “Losers Club” in scenes that will haunt the viewer long after the final credits have rolled.
In addition to these horrifying moments, there are several scenes that do a fantastic job of illustrating the relationship between the seven young heroes and the innocence that they lose. The film functions on a deeper level as a beautiful metaphor for the loss of innocence and for facing fears as childhood evolves into adulthood. This coming-of-age tale wrapped in a horror story is sure to stay with the viewer long after the scares have ended.
IT is not only one of the most-anticipated horror movies released in the past decade; it is also a remarkable film—regardless of its genre. Despite the nightmare-inducing storyline, from die-hard horror fans to the most refined of film buffs, there is something for everyone to enjoy about this movie.
No aspect of IT comes up short. All of its elements work to create a movie that is not only an amazing horror story, but also an incredible film overall.u