“It” is a refreshing horror film that brings life back to a genre that has been plagued with cliché after cliché in the recent years.
From beginning to end, the viewer is assured to be on edge due to director Andy Muschietti’s masterful use of character development to tell the story of the Loser Club. In an environment where blockbuster horror films have become almost synonymous with weak plot lines and ridiculous character motivation, “It” is a breath of fresh air. “It” is a telling of the first half of Stephen King’s novel of the same name with a sequel expected in 2019.
The horror of “It” is absolutely gut-wrenching, as the infamous clown, Pennywise, terrorizes the children of Derry, Maine. What is even more impressive than the horror of the film is its character development. The Loser Club, the group of friends the movie centers around, is comprised of seven members, Bill, Ben, Bev, Richie, Eddie, Mike and Stan and every single character is given a fully rounded narrative. The two main characters of the film, Bill, played by Jaeden Lieberher, and Bev, played by Sophia Lillis, see the most screen time out of the club and take advantage of every second with their amazing performances.
Another way “It” stands apart from common blockbuster horror films is the way it portrays its monster, It. It is common for horror films to keep the threat, whether it be monster, killer or sharknado, hidden behind smoke and mirrors for most of the movie, only to reveal its true power in the last 15 minutes of the film. “It” throws that methodology out the window and reveals the power of its monster in the first five minutes of the film, killing a main character in the process. Due to this early reveal of Pennywise’s power, the viewer is aware of the true danger that the characters are in from the very beginning.
Even with the fantastic directing of Muschietti and the classic source material of Stephen King, “It” could have still flopped if it were not for the amazing cast of actors on screen. The most outstanding performance in the film is Bill Skarsgard, who portrays Pennywise. Skarsgard’s every motion in the film is jerky, unpredictable and absolutely terrifying. This performance was supported even more by a mixture of practical and CGI costuming that resulted a truly terrorizing Pennywise. The performances by the Loser Club are also notable in their own regard, considering the average age of the crew is 14, but at certain points in the film, their young age is apparent. In scenes of tension or sadness, some of the young actors have a hard time pulling off the emotion.
Despite previous comments of nonstop horror, “It” does a fantastic job of giving the viewer comedic relief through the character Richie, played by Finn Wolfhard of “Stranger Things” fame. Richie acts as a fountain of perversions and expletives that will either cause the viewer to cringe or laugh out loud.
“It” is the perfect movie to round off the summer for horror lovers and drama lovers alike. Viewers will be left on the edge of their seats craving the second installment. Every scene in “It” feels absolutely necessary. There is no such thing as a wasted second in its 2-hour-15-minute runtime. The film feels incredibly refreshing in a genre of “Paranormal Activity” and “The Purge.” “It” is currently running at the Oxford Commons.