Stephen King’s IT is now in theaters and it’s crushing the box office. I had to check it out to find out why it’s been such a hit, and after doing so I’m in agreement with most of the world on IT’s greatness. You should definitely see it in theaters thanks to its immaculate visuals and sound design, but just know you’ll forever be fearful of clowns after doing so if you’re not already creeped out by them.
You can check out the full review below via the embedded video or script.
Hey now fans of Clown Demons, Matt Heywood here to review the movie version of Stephen King’s IT.
There will be no major plot spoilers, but you should still proceed at your own risk as certain points are recapped.
IT has been a huge success at the box office thanks to its tense and twisted plot, and after taking in a screening this past weekend, I can see why.
I never read the book, so I went in with a fairly blank slate outside of my brief stints with the 1990 TV show, which at this point makes me feel like a wuss for being scared of it considering how hokey it looks now compared to the gore-filled movie version.
The plot is simple yet very mysterious. In 1989 the small town of Derry, MN experiences a rash of children going missing, and after a band of High School rejects gets together to help their buddy look for his missing brother, all hell breaks loose as they discover the truth about their town’s demonic past. At the heart of this mystery is a freaky clown named Pennywise, who feeds on the fears of the children of Derry to capture them for a quick meal or souvenir. And yes, he is why clowns will continue to have a bad rap, because in the movie version of IT, Pennywise, who is played masterfully by Bill Skarsgard, will forever leave you scarred thanks to the pure evil that flows through him.
IT shines with its cinematography, effects and sound design, as well as its kid-centric cast, which carries this movie’s deeply disturbing narrative better than most adult actors. Before I get into that though I have to applaud the special effects and sound design, both of which make the horror aspects of this film pop with blood curdling flair.
Whenever Pennywise is on screen he commands it, which is due in part to Skarsgard’s performance, but also to how he’s brought to life. This is accomplished through a mix of CGI effects, makeup, and an eerie sound profile that keeps your skin tingling throughout. At times the sound will scare you more than the clown himself, especially if you see this movie in an Atmos theater, or one with booming sound like an IMAX screen.
The combination of Pennywise’s looks, which get very jacked up depending on which kid he’s currently haunting, and the loud and in your face sound design, it’s hard not to feel scared anytime he’s on screen. He elicits so much fear during these times that it’s impossible not to feel something even if you try to internalize your fear. This clown and his horrific sound design will grip your soul and not let it go until each of his scenes end, so I found him to be an excellent horror movie antagonist.
In terms of IT’s most notable aspect though, I have to discuss the film’s young stars. This movie is driven by its child actors, which could have resulted in an emotionally flat experience, but they each bring so much to their roles that I was amazed at how well the cast performed their jobs. There isn’t a single bad performance by any of these kids, and each made their character feel unique, but also part of the overall Loser’s Club.
They all felt like best friends in real life thanks to how well they gel together, which just makes the plot feel as authentic as possible. You can easily buy into their plights, which makes the stakes feel real even though you know you’re watching fiction. I have to say that this is one of the best children-centric cast ensembles I’ve ever seen, and that without these actors I don’t think IT would have been as emotionally impactful as it comes off. These kids just bring a level of authenticity to their roles that enables their characters to feel real and have real life experiences, most of which we can all relate to if we’re older by comparing their journeys with our own.
Not that any of us had to deal with murdering demon clowns, at least I hope not, but we all had to deal with young love, bullies, and the struggles of being an adolescent. IT’s young cast nailed what it’s like to be a kid dealing with all of these external and internal forces, and I truly think they’re why the film has been so well received and reviewed.
I wouldn’t say that IT relies on jump scares to be frightening, rather it relies on all of our fears we develop as kids, as well as having a really fucked up clown as its antagonist. This film packs in monster style scares, and scares due to sheer tension, so it hits a few horror movie beats for fans of the genre. IT is easily a 9 out of 10 type of movie, and it definitely needs to be seen in theaters, preferably on an IMAX or Atmos enabled screen due to its excellent sound design. If you don’t already have a fear of clowns you will after seeing IT, but you’ll enjoy every heart pounding moment, so it’s worth the possible clown phobia.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
IT is now in theaters and you should definitely go see it even if you didn’t agree with my review!
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Review Statement: The author of this review paid for an Atmos screening for the purposes of this review.