Content warnings: Violence, abuse, domestic abuse, bullying, sexual harassment, slurs against women, self-harm, animal violence
Review: Let me give you some background on my relationship with this story. When I was a kid, I had a lot of nightmares (I still do have a lot of nightmares) but not much scared me in real life. Then I watched IT with Tim Curry. I was spooked beyond repair. I avoided this story like the plague. When I was in college, I decided I wanted to rewatch the miniseries so I could see if it was still as scary as I remembered it. While I wasn't as scared as I was when I was little, it was still suitably creepy. This year, I was nervous/excited for the new movie to come out. The difference was that I didn't want to see it until I read the book. I'm not an avid Stephen King reader. I've only read one other book (Salem's Lot) to completion. Still, I wanted to read IT. I read IT and I loved IT (review can be found here). The film librarian where I work agreed that she would watch the new movie with me when I finished the book. So, we went to see the movie. Now, I will get on with the actual review.
Holy moly, this movie was an experience. My biggest concern was how they were going to do Pennywise as a character. Tim Curry did an excellent job making Pennywise creepy, but playful. Skarsgård made an excellent Pennywise, but it didn't feel quite as good as Curry's. It's hard to describe, but it felt slightly off as a character. I did really enjoy the weird dancing scene towards the end of the film. It seemed a bit much, but it was funny. The kids were all great. This movie focused on the story of the children, and I thought they all fit fairly well. They did make a lot of dick jokes. I asked the person I watched the movie with, and she agreed. It was a little unnecessary
I greatly enjoyed the flow of this film than any other way the story has been presented. I might have said this in my review of the book, but I much prefer reading stories straight through without shifting perspectives or timelines. It was great that they had one film focus on the childrens' adventure. Unfortunately, there were some bits that seemed weird to me. First, Bev's kidnapping. I get why they made that decision. It was the ultimate push to get this group of feuding children to come together to fight Pennywise. Again, this could just be my view, but it made Pennywise seem less scary and very dumb. He already knew that having the children in a group made them stronger. Why would he bait them all together by taking Bev? Also, part of his character is the ability to entice children to come with him willingly. Taking Bev diminished some of this character in my opinion. There was also a weird scene where Billy had to put a gun to Georgie's head to prove Georgie wasn't real. That seemed extra unnecessary. That scene honestly bothered me more than Pennywise murdering children. The last thing that weirded me out was after they fought Pennywise. In the book, Bev convinces the boys to have sex with her. Yes, I agree that should not have been in the film. But I don't think cutting their palms open was great either. Again, this could be a problem only I had, but what ever happened to pinky promises?
There were a few really good scenes though. I really enjoyed the scene where Stan freaks out and thinks his friends abandoned him. I think that lends itself to a better reason for him committing suicide as an adult. In a, "My friends left my behind during the first fight. I'm not going back so they can leave me again" kind of way. I'm not trying to justify Stan's suicide. I just think it makes more sense this way than just fear causing him to do it. Pennywise's illusions felt creepier in this movie. I had chills during a good chunk of the beginning because of how things were portrayed. This is probably something that was only accomplished because of modern technology, but it was done really well. While I wasn't the biggest fan of Pennywise's overall appearance, Skarsgård did an incredible job with his voice. That was absolutely a major plus for me. It was soothing, but creepy at the same time. He gets A+ just from his voice.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie, but not quite as much as the miniseries or the original novel. I'm extremely excited for the next one to come out.