Sunday, October 1, 2017

Go see IT!

"Saw what?", I'm sure you're wondering. IT. The IT. Sleepy little town, creepy clown thing living under it, killing and eating kids..That IT.

Funny, I love horror movies, but the last one I actually saw in theaters was..Saw II. And that was...holy crap. That was 12 years ago. So, I guess you could say I was overdue. A few weeks ago, my wife and I got together with friends to watch the original TV movie version,  just to kind of prepare ourselves for this one. Let me tell you, don't even waste your time with the older version. Tim Curry was great as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, but the new movie is far superior in every way. Part of it can be chalked up to the difference in budget between a TV miniseries and a wide release movie, and the rest can be attributed to how much better the acting is in the newer version. I usually get annoyed whenever child actors are the leads in a film, but I have to admit, these kids really knocked it out of the park. My particular favorite has to be Finn Wolfhand (Mike Wheeler of Stranger Things) as the foul mouthed Richie Tozier. He's the type of person that knows just how serious and awful a situation is, but he still manages to come back with a smart ass remark. He kind of reminds me of my adult self in that regard. 

Tim Curry's portrayal of Pennywise is iconic, but I believe Bill Skarsgard's portrayal of the monstrous clown may have topped it. Where Curry's clown was the pre-eminent showman, Skarsgard's version is almost child like, yet still dripping with menace. Part of Curry's restraint can be chalked up to, again, the fact that his version of IT was in a made for TV movie. There's only so much you can do in a prime time special in 1990.  Skarsgard's Pennywise, on the other hand, is loud, fast, in your face, and terrifying. 

If I had one complaint, it's that IT (2017) seems to rely on jump scares for most of its frights. Within the context of the character though, they make sense. Pennywise's power comes from instilling fear within people, so it makes sense that jumping out and scaring the hell out of someone would make them pretty delicious.  And what better way to scare someone, than to expose them to their greatest fears? Whether it's a fear of lepers, clowns, or even your own family, Pennywise is sure to exploit them to it's greatest benefit. Of course, IT isn't the only threat the Losers Club have to deal with. Everyone from their parents to the Bowers gang seem to be under Pennywise's influence. Even when they aren't actively trying to hurt the children, they're ignoring the dangers lurking under the surface.

I don't want to spoil the film, but just know that if the only version you've seen was the 1990 TV miniseries, you owe it to yourself to check out the new film. It's a more intense, more polished experience, and not once during it's 2+ hour runtime did I check my watch. It's going to be a long, hard wait for Chapter 2, but you can bet I'll see it as soon as it's released. 

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