IT movie review
I’m always apprehensive of movie adaptions of my favourite books. And IT is one of my favourite (Top five, maybe even top three) books of all time. It’s a showcase of everything Stephen King does best. Not just horror. King books are never just about the horror. IT is about family and friendship, love, good and evil, loyalty, trust, and so much more.
So it was with some unease (and not just unease from how shit scary the trailers for IT were, or that I was seeing the movie alone, in a pitch black cinema screen, with less than half a dozen other people) that I sat down and waited for the movie to start.
It starts in the rain, with a boy and his little brother making a paper boat, and that little brother going out to sail the paper boat down a flooded road and losing it in a sewer. The same sewer where a clown is waiting for him…
It’s pretty much a scene for scene imagining of what happens in the opening of the book. And like the book, they don’t hold back on shocking the audience in the first five minutes. I wasn’t sure if they would include what happens to the little brother, but they did. Man, they did.
And the opening five minutes of knuckles-white-mouth-falling-open horror sets the scary train into full-on motion. The horror never lets up. There’s barely five minutes that go by without something happening to make your shoulders rise up about your ears or your back prickle with cold or send you jumping out of your seat and dumping half the popcorn you paid over £6 for (shit, cinema’s are rip off’s. But moving on) on the floor and yourself.
But like the book, the movie, isn’t just about the horror. It’s about friends and family, loyalty and trust and so much more. Which is where the kids come in. The cast is mostly made up of the Loser’s Club. Bill, Eddie, Richie, Mike, Stan, Ben and Beverley. And they put the few adult cast members to shame. They’re all epic young actors. Funny, (Richie has some classic, highly quotable one liners) moving, and with so much chemistry you believe they’re friends, you believe they’re not actors at all, but just ordinary kids. Even in the face of the extraordinary horror they go up against, all the CGI (which is never over the top like a lot of horror movies make the mistake of) blood, guts and gore, the kids never play second fiddle. The movie might be called IT, but maybe Loser’s Club would have been a more fitting title. Because the kids are the movie. All of them have got big futures ahead of them.
This movie went through a few redrafts and shake ups over its production. The writers changed, the director changed, the actors changed. But where some movies show their tumultuous production, IT never does. If it was any more polished, it would hurt your eyes. From the atmospheric opening, to the atmospheric finale, the film rarely (if ever; I can’t think of a single duff note) puts a foot wrong. Director Andres Muschietti has as keen an eye for horror as he does for character moments. The script is tight, funny, terrifying and moving. The score moves from sweeping orchestral, John Williams style to creepy, rising horror.
This is smart, funny, moving filmaking. An adventure in the Goonies vein, that just happens to be a horror movie. King fans can rest assured the novel has been honored. If you’ve never read a King book, (what the hell are you waiting for?) this is one of the best movies you’ll see this year, and the best horror movie I’ve seen for a long time. Maybe one of the best I’ve ever seen. No. There’s no maybe about it. This is one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen. And if I praise it any more you’ll think I’ve been hired by the movie’s marketing department.