By Gustavo Buenrostro
Terrifying as well as heartfelt, “IT” delivers a faithful adaptation of the Stephen King novel of the same name that will send goosebumps throughout the body.
“IT” is about a kid named Bill, played by Jaeden Linberher, and his friends being terrorized by a creature that takes the appearance of a clown.
As with any good horror movie, “IT” delivers on scares. There are jump scares that most modern horror films have, but “IT” does not rely solely on them to make the film scary.
Whenever there was a scare coming, the music would swell louder until Pennywise, the name of “IT,” would show up on screen. The tension in “IT” leads to creepy images on screen, unlike other horror films where the tension usually leads to something more mundane.
When the audience expected a scare they got a scare. This can be seen as a negative, however, as every jump scare was given away and the audience was able to guess accurately when to look away from the screen.
The music also added to the atmosphere, which was dark and sinister. Whenever Pennywise showed up on screen, little kids could be heard singing in the background for a few seconds before “IT” would go in for the kill.
The composer, Benjamin Wallfisch, did a great job at bringing the horror back into the more sincere and heartfelt scenes. When Beverly, played by Sophia Lillis, is looking at a card she gets from a secret admirer, the music is soft and light. Then she hears something coming from the sink and the music smoothly goes from light to heavy as the strings moved to a lower register.
One surprising aspect of the film was the humor. The mixing of humor and terror added to the heart of the film. The kids act like kids and say things kids would say when their parents aren’t around. It makes the film feel genuine.
What is impressive about the film is that the humor adds to the horror. The little jokes that characters like Richie Tozier, played by Finn Wolfhard, make put the audience into a false sense of security.
When horror films use jump scare after jump scare, the audience becomes numb to them. But when humor is intercut with the scares, the audience has a chance to relax from the scares and build the tension back up again. This makes every scare just as effective as the last.
All the actors in the film did a great job portraying kids dealing with something they didn’t understand. The reactions to the crazy things they would see were appropriate reactions.
The moments were the kids really shined were when nothing scary was happening at all. They were discussing what they should do about “IT.” However, one of the best performances of the film has to go to Bill Skarsgard who portrays Pennywise. He portrayed a being that was terrifying as well as sadistic.
Skarsgard, without the help of special effects, could move each of his eyes independently of each other. One eye would look at the characters and one eye would look at the camera. This was something that the director, Andy Muschietti, used a lot in the film.
The eye movement Skarsgard did is not something other characters noticed, but it’s something the audience notices, breaking the fourth wall a little bit. The director added these moments throughout the entire film, but would not bring attention to it, which made it creepier.
At its core, “IT” is about friendship. The bonds of the kids friendship are tested because of the ordeal they all go through. This is the real focus of the film and where the heartfelt moments stem from.
Overall, “IT” is a good time if you love horror films. Sure it doesn’t add anything to the horror genre or reinvent horror movies but “IT” has good scares, great characters and a touching story.