It floats with many horror clichés and lacks depth.
By Jon Cull
In a summer lacking the amount of blockbuster fun this period in the year has come to stereotype, It probably has come at the right time. While floating with many contemporary horror clichés, It is a cine-literate blast of fun. Crucially, It was good, It was scary. It follows the self-proclaimed Loser’s Club, a ragtag group of young friends as they are haunted in their small town. For first-time audiences, the pacing and editing can seem a bit off, a bit fast. But for fans of Steven King, there is much enjoyment to be had. The overall design was fantastic and the visual appearance of Pennywise, the villain, was frightening. All of the performances, especially those of the Loser’s Club, were very impressive with all characters seeming like real people; a brilliant set of casting all round. However, the characters felt fairly forced in places with little room to develop. Of course It is a ‘film’, with a lot of characters, although there was a lot of wasted time. The film would have benefited by giving more screen time to Pennywise taunting the children much like in the original mini-series, which starred Tim Curry, than the scenes of small talk between the boys.
In this rendition, Pennywise was played by the brilliant Bill Skarsgård. Whilst the scares of the film felt earnt, the development and character of Pennywise was wasted. It felt that he was far too side-lined by the Loser’s Club, and more importantly, he did not have the same haunting feeling that Tim Curry’s performance held – though a hard performance to live up to. More importantly, unlike Curry’s Pennywise, there was no real sense of personal connection with the kids from the Loser’s Club apart from scaring them visually. It did not feel psychological. That said, Skarsgård was amazing despite the limiting script and short screen time and the visually the film is a treat.
In general, the atmosphere was a bit too bright, especially in the sewer, as it did not really feel dark or claustrophobic. It would have been far scarier with a real sense of darkness – how many sewers have you seen in films and TV where they are constantly lit by daylight? Furthermore, the ending was rushed and hollow. Overall, the film is good but with flaws. The weird edits, lack of character development, and the absence of darker psychological horror left the film needing more. Perhaps we will have to wait for chapter two, or wait another twenty-seven years for Pennywise to return.