Beneath the Reel: Powerful character development drives horrifyingly good 'IT'
"IT" brings the terror of childhood fears right to your squirming feet as you try to leave its clutches. Director Andres Muschietti (famous for "Mama") makes his sophomore debut by recreating the infamous clown -- Pennywise. Muschietti took the mixed reviews from his freshman big screen film, "Mama," and created horror gold with the hard R Pennywise we truly deserve.
I raise this man my arm and a severed child’s one to tell you that Muschietti blends CGI and makeup well, allowing the small budget of $35 million to shine on a blockbuster level. But, I’ll truly have to give my red balloon to Bill Skarsgård. He imbeds a truly horrific persona to Pennywise and leaves the Bozo the Clown rip off in the dust (no offense to Tim Curry).
Yet, the film doesn’t stop with the Bill and Muschietti duo. The Loser Club (the band of children that fights the monster) takes character development to the next level. The club embodies dialectic wit and class to their lines and includes homages to great childhood acting masterpieces, such as "E.T.," "Stranger Things" and "Stand By Me."
The Loser Club consists of the following characters: Bill Denbrough, played by Jaeden Lieberher (famous for "St. Vincent," "Midnight Special" and "The Book of Henry"), Ben Hanscom, played by Jeremy Ray Taylor, Beverly Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis, Richie Tozier, played by Finn Wolfhard from "Stranger Things," Mike Hanlon, played by Chosen Jacobs from "Hawaii Five-0," Eddie Kaspbrak, played by Jack Dylan Grazer and Stanley Uris, played by Wyatt Oleff from "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2."
The kids give moving performances and never break out of sync, whether their characters need to be sad, scared shitless or funny. When the movie changes tone, the Loser Club flows effortlessly with the melody of the film without missing a note. I give a second and third red balloon to Richie (Wolfhard) and Eddie (Grazer). These two were the main comedians of the film, but didn’t put all their marbles in one basket. Instead, they dispersed the marbles (comedy) evenly throughout the entire two hours.
Some people may have issues with the plot (a group of bullied kids are terrorized by a shapeshifting demon that mainly takes the form of a clown) because it seems cliché. Some will consider the bully aspects and rag tag group of misfits banding together as unoriginal and quite boring.
Horror film fanatics will say the film isn’t scary. Then a small few will say the film didn’t capture psychological aura. Yet, I say the film has cringe worthy twists to the cliché genre of misfit films and captivates a nostalgia by paying homage to great horror films and the 1980s. As a long time horror fanatic, I can say the film spellbinds you into a state of utter horror and happiness with the strong use of the following: little CGI, makeup, jump scares and an overall creepy aura.
The film doesn’t blankly slap you in the face with psychological overtones, but instead incorporates psychological undertones that are elegantly placed in the story. Overall, let Pennywise entice your thirst for daring horrific thrills and enjoy the sheer horror, laughter and ever-so-gory "IT!"