The new adaptation to Stephen King’s IT wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I knew things were going to be changed and updated for today’s standards, but I can honestly say that I was hoping for a little more and walked away not as impressed as everyone else seems to be with the film.
Understand that this is just my opinion on the film. If you have a different opinion and loved every moment of IT, that’s great! I, on the other hand, did not.
Though the film looks good, is shot well, and competently directed by Andres Muschietti (Mama) I think where the film falls apart is the script and lack of character development.
What I love about King’s IT novel is that each character is built so well that they don’t even seem like characters on the page. The amount of detail that King puts into all his characters is nothing but astounding (he may be considered the master of horror, but he excels with character development; something he’s overlooked for).
In the IT movie a lot of that rich character development has been dropped to keep the movie moving. What we are left with was nothing more than a surface level characterization of better characters. Even the bullies in the IT novel were giving life and backstory, here they are nothing more than movie bullies that we’ve seen hundreds of times before.
What’s pushed on us instead of character development is the kids FEARS and how Pennywise can manipulate them and use it against the kids to fear him: taking the form of a leper, or a scary painting, or Bill’s dead brother George.
That brings me to why Pennywise scares children. In the book he has a reason for scaring them before he kills them, in the movie it’s never explained; he just does it.
I felt a lot of times the movie fell back onto too many modern day horror movie cliché like spitting up, stopping when your name is called (which happened more than once and it annoyed me), and stupid jump scares that really were not all that effective with exception to one.
I will give credit where credit is due though. The young cast of actors were great in their roles and they all played well off each other, giving their lack of substance in character development to work with. I was delighted to see them shine none-the-less.
Bill Skarsgård was decent as Pennywise (much different from Tim Curry portrayal of the character). He was subdued and scary (at times) and was kept more in the background rather than the focal point of the movie; there were other monsters that Pennywise took the form of so you didn’t see him in the clown form all that much.
Really I could nit-pick this movie apart on things that I did not like, from use of characters, to changes in places, settings, character arches, but it would just become a bore for you to read and not fun for anyone.
So instead of saying anything else on the film, I’m going to stop right here and leave it at that.
4 out of 10 Stars.