Last year, I decided to finally bite the bullet and watch the original mini-series for IT. Apparently, this was the thing that popularized the idea of scary clowns and I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen a few since this that are clearly scarier, but that clown was just not frightening at all. I laughed throughout the film because it was corny, had bad acting, and it didn’t even show anything that would warrant calling it scary. However, maybe it just needed to be relived in 2017, where pretty much anything is allowed in film. So, in I went, to see if clowns could scare me now. Short answer is no, but at the same time, I wasn’t laughing at anything in the film…and that’s a big improvement. Let’s go ahead and talk about the plot.
“When young children in the little town Derry, Maine goes missing a group of seven kids find out that the killer is not a man. The killer is the evil clown Pennywise who can shapeshift into the thing you are most afraid of. The kids, also known as the Losers Club, decide to fight and kill It. But how can you fight something who knows all your biggest fears?” – IMDb
Immediately, I sense that this is the kind of movie the original should’ve been had they had all the appropriate permissions that this one did. It immediately felt more terrifying than the original. I personally never felt any kind of fear, but I sensed why others would where I wouldn’t, which is important for any horror film. Also, the way the clown was interpreted this time around felt 1,000 times more sinister than the original, which is a great start. That being said, the creepiest clown I’ve ever seen is probably still the clown in American Horror Story, but while Pennywise isn’t the most frightening-looking clown, his motives are certainly darker on a much more supernatural level than AHS.
I also wanted to point out that this film did a better job at balancing the individual fears of each and every character, portrayed by Pennywise. The problem that serves, though, is that it takes a really, really long time for the movie to really begin, because each character technically has their own inciting incident moment, and it takes them a long time to really get together to form the Losers Club in order to take down Pennywise.
These are just my first impressions, though. Let’s go ahead and break down IT to interpret the stars.
Year – 2017
Genres – Horror, Thriller, Drama
Possible Awards – Adaptation
PEOPLE SCORE – 8/10
Acting – 2|Characters – 2|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 2
First up, we have the people category, starting off with the subcategory of acting, and thankfully, the acting was noticeably great. These characters were diverse, unique, and most importantly, memorable. I think everyone did a fine job in the role, but that doesn’t mean they were the only actor for the job. In this film, there were characters that certainly held independent importance and purpose, but not enough. The main characters basically held the importance while everyone else sort of blended together. Everyone in this film really worked well together. Their chemistry was off the charts.
WRITING SCORE – 8/10
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 1|Story – 2|Originality – 2|Interesting – 2
Next up, we have the writing category, starting off with the dialogue subcategory…which was as unremarkable and forgettable as the meal you had last Tuesday afternoon. The only reason I say that is because I have never understood the real significance of “they all float down here” and why that’s such a great line…it means nothing to me. Now, this film isn’t as well-balanced as it could’ve easily been. It loses its own focus here and there, making the film feel a little bit longer than it should normally feel. When it comes to the story, this film knows what it’s doing. Not only is the story alone interesting, but it sticks with you because it has meaning and purpose. In my opinion, I also think this film feels fresh and pretty darn original. Was this movie interesting? Of course it was, don’t be silly. I was all-in for this one.
BTS SCORE – 8/10
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 2|Advertisement – 2|Music – 1
Next up, we’re taking a look behind-the-scenes, starting with the visuals, and the visuals were pretty darn great here. Somebody knew what they were doing. Next, we’re taking a look at the directing, which slips by without you noticing it. That’s right, there wasn’t anything difficult or challenging for the director. They could’ve hired any director for the job and the movie would be exactly the same. The editing was pretty darn impressive in this film. I’m always impressed when something surprising shows up thanks to the editor, and that is what you get here. As with most films, I consider this film to be exactly as-advertised, which is good. There wasn’t anything fancy or memorable about the music, though. It was basically as good as it needed to be in order to keep the tone in place…and that’s what they did here, as well.
NARRATIVE ARC SCORE – 8/10
Introduction – 2|Inciting Incident – 1|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1
Next up, we’re chugging right along into the narrative arc category, which is one of the easiest categories to score highly in. First up, we’re looking at the introduction, which did perfectly. By the inciting incident, we knew who everyone was, the basic setting, and what’s going on in these people’s lives. How about the inciting incident? It was okay, I’ll put it that way. It wasn’t really all that clear because you never really feel like there is a ‘never going back’ moment, but it is what it is. How were the obstacles? Totally fine. There were plenty of clear obstacles in the way, just as you’d come to expect. How was the climax? The climax was perfect. It felt like a perfect culmination of everything else put together, just as it should. Alright, so how was the falling action? Well, it started to calm things down a little bit, but other than that, not the best. You never get the sensation that they are returning to a new norm, so it’s not a complete falling action.
ENTERTAINMENT SCORE – 6/10
Rewatchability – 2|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impulse/Talk – 1|Sucks Audience IN – 1
Next up, we’re asking if this film is any good to be considered entertaining when all is said and done. First up, we ask if it is rewatchable, to which I say…yes! I would have no issues checking out this movie again! Is this a film I would consider fun while watching? Oh yeah, absolutely. Whatever technical problems the movie may or may not have, it is definitely fun, and that’s something no one can take away from it. Do I have any impulse to buy it? No way, Jose! What about talking to somebody about the film that hasn’t heard of it? Maybe, I’m not sure. I might have a normal discussion about it, but I won’t be losing my mind to tell them about it, either. Does this suck you in, though? Maybe in certain parts, but definitely not throughout.
SPECIALTY SCORE – 40/50
Horror – 5|Kid Actors – 5|Adaptation – 10|Clown – 10|Halfway Decent – 10
Now, onto the specialty questions that I asked before seeing the movie. First off, this is not only horror, but it’s based on a very classic horror story…so, was it scary? Like I said before, it’s hard to say, since I wasn’t scared. However, unlike the original mini-series, I actually understood where people could certainly be frightened, so I’ll give it half points there. Next up, I’m always wary of kid actors. Sometimes they suck, sometimes they just don’t feel right in the roles, and I half to give half points here for one specific reason, I never believed they were truly afraid of Pennywise because they had prior scenes of where their fears originated where I did feel genuine fear. So, it’s not like it wasn’t in them, it just wasn’t in them when Pennywise was around, but they did try. Next up, how does this do as an adaptation. This time around, I haven’t read the book, but I did see the original film. You don’t need any knowledge in anything when you see this movie, so I have to give it full points, but I do appreciate the shout-outs for the scenes that it did recreate. How about clown-wise? Like I said before, I’ve seen scarier-looking clowns before, but what he represents is pretty good with psychological reasons. Also, it’s a step up from the classic mini-series. Full points. Finally, was it halfway decent? Definitely.
TOTAL – 78