I’m not going to mince words, I’m just going to say it – Apart from The Witch, IT is one of, if not the, best horror movies to have come out in recent years. It gives other horror heavy hitters like The Conjuring, and the Insidious movies, a run for their money.
The hype generated by this movie was astronomical, to say the least, and holy shit, it delivers, and more. Andy Muschietti, with this, has established himself as one of the most capable horror directors working today. Based off of the first half of Stephen King’s novel, IT deals with a bunch of kids, who discover strange things going on in their town, and decide to investigate them. All roads lead to the eponymous creature, who appears to its victims, as Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. And in true underdog fashion, the bunch of kids succeed in taking It down.
The second such adaptation of the novel (first being the miniseries starring Tim Curry), IT had a lot to live up to, considering Tim Curry’s cult status as Pennywise. Not having seen the miniseries, I’m in no position to compare them, but, from what I’ve seen, and heard, the miniseries was more funny, rather than scary. The movie, on the other hand, is a terrifying, but highly rewarding, thrill ride.
There are several possible reasons, as to why IT succeeds, not only as a horror movie, but as a movie in general.
1. The Humour Factor
What caught me off guard, was the humour, which was surprising. Horror and humour don’t usually go well; it could end up backfiring, or could go really well (a la Cabin in the Woods). Thankfully, IT falls in the latter category. It wasn’t overdone, and it helped balance the tone of the movie, by punctuating the horrifying sequences with schoolboy humour. While some may dismiss it as overbearing, and complain about it bringing the movie down, I absolutely didn’t mind it, and thought it improved the movie. You’ve got to admit, it’s charming to watch middle schoolers unleash their inner Samuel L. Jackson.
2. The Filmmaking
Muschietti’s previous outing, Mama, was a competently made horror flick. Not too good to be memorable, not too bad to be forgotten, just okay. But one thing which that movie pretty much nailed, was the overall atmosphere, and feel. The colour palette was dark, and muted, which only added to the atmosphere.