I will always remember the original TV mini-series of IT with fondness and nostalgia; it was the first thing I watched that scared the crap out of me. I was extremely wary, I might even say pessimistic, about the new theatrical version to come out this year. However, after deciding to give it a chance I found that I came out of the film very happy.
From what I’ve gathered, this newer version stays closer to the source material than the aforementioned TV series. This isn’t really of any importance in my enjoying of it as I’ve never read the book, but thought it was worth a mention.
I personally found the jump scares to not have too much of an effect on me. What did leave an impression on me were the relationships between the main characters - the losers club, and the absolute creepiness of Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise.
The actors and actresses playing the losers club did an awesome job and had great chemistry on screen. It was good to see the blossoming, and sometimes damaging, of their friendships before ultimately coming together for the final showdown against Pennywise.
But aside from the kids versus clown, the story also did well in telling the group’s stories as a coming-of-age tale - these aren’t just a bunch of one dimensional characters; these are fully-realised people who are all dealing with the stress and anxiety of growing up, as well as added parental pressure. Never mind the killer clown that wants them dead.
Speaking of Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård was so frickin’ awesome in this part. Even though I knew the story and knew the general series of events, he still creeped me the fuck out from the get go. His eyes that weren’t quite right; the subtle shifts from being a friendly clown to showing the expressions that betray his underlying motives; the downright terror that ensues when his real self comes to the forefront.
It was genuinely scary to just see him talking in the opening scene - the opening scene that goes further than most other popular horror films do. Even though I knew what was coming in that scene, I still found myself sitting there, anxiously awaiting the climax.
I thought it was interesting to only see the events of the group’s childhood; leaving the adulthood and final showdown to its own film entirely. I don’t think it would actually be possible to cram the whole book into one film - at least not without cutting huge chunks out.
I’m looking forward to seeing the conclusion of IT sometime in the near future, all being well with all of the same writers and creators.