IT may not be the first film that comes to mind when you’re in the mood for a feel-good childhood classic, but Andy Muschietti manages to provide that nostalgic warmth in the 2017 remake.
If you’re not especially afraid of clowns, you may walk into the theatre expecting a poor attempt at reviving a concept that passed with 2016, but the movie is one step ahead and incorporates many staples of the genre. You want bathrooms covered in blood? You’ve got it. Zombified remains hobbling down a dimly-lit corridor? Yep. And, of course, the classic “How many rows of teeth can I fit in this monster’s jaw?” shot. While a few scenes were cringeworthy beyond redemption (jump shot to It’s dancing scene in the sewer), many were truly terrifying. The vibe is reminiscent of 80’s horror films such as Nightmare on Elm Street and The Poltergeist, but pulls elements from movies from other genres as well, such as ET. Stranger Things can credit much of its success to the same approach: a blend of classic and modern style that appeals to all ages. It’s this flair that allows the director to gloss over a few plot holes — where did It come from? Why does It only feed on children? Why is the only person noticing the unusual amount of disappearances a chubby high schooler with too much free time? These questions come with the promise of a sequel in the final scenes of the film.
Special recognition should be given to the main actors, most of whom are around the age of 15, who delivered compelling performances; specifically Finn Wolfhard whose quips about his own dick save the dialogue from sounding like a Family Channel production. The characters are quirky but relatable and play into the Losers Club trope in a way that for the most part, doesn’t seem forced. It’s important to note that Beverly (Sophia Lillis) is made out to be unique in the fact that she’s the only kid able to resist It’s powers, but it’s exactly her uniqueness that emphasizes the fact that she is the female cast. While not exactly a manic pixie dream girl, Beverly comes as close to it as a modern audience will tolerate. To be fair, however, the cast was so big that none of the characters were developed upon as much as they deserved to be.
Overall, the movie was charming, though cheesy. Such is to be expected from a Stephen King adaptation, and if anything, I think the classic mood of the piece guarantees it a permanent spot on many moviegoers’ shelves. Indeed, some viewers dismissed IT as humorously bad, and perhaps I’m too much a sucker for a classic feel-good ending to accurately review this film. Laughing my nerves off as I exited the theatre after my first viewing, however, I came upon a testament to IT’s significance to its audience — a red balloon tied to my car, eerily still in the dark of night.