- Product Rating -


| November 6, 2017

I don’t know how I managed to go over five weeks without seeing a movie that proved itself to a cultural phenomenon, but alas, it happened. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see it since I truly did, but hey, I finally saw it, and I can’t say that I see what everyone fell in love with. What starts off promising loses a substantial amount of steam as it goes on, the script struggling to give equal time for each of its many characters and its scenes lacking enough connective tissue at times. It has its moments but not enough to fill 135 minutes, a runtime that overstays its welcome by at least 20 minutes. I didn’t really float; it was more like hovering.

I would give a plot synopsis here, but a.) it’s It, and b.) everyone has already seen this movie. The strengths on display here are largely technical, courtesy of director Andy Muschietti (Mama) and cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung, the latter of whom regularly works with Park Chan-wook. It has a pretty great look to it at times, in turns dreary, sunny, and saturated in accordance with locales and themes. The movie is often blood-red eye candy, its more suspenseful scenes shot with a cemented energy that allows the audience to at once follow what’s unfolding and gain a spacial understanding of the settings, namely in act three. The performances are also notably strong, especially for child actors. Their delivery of Chase Palmer, Cary Fukanaga, and Gary Dauberman’s dialogue, which is easily the strongest aspect of their script. The script, however, is the main issue, trying but largely failing to juggle and flesh out its peripheral characters and their respective domestic lives.

The rapport of the main six in question illustrates their relationships well and does a commendable job at recreating the obnoxiousness of 13-year-olds and their needs to prove their virility over their peers, but the don’t function that well in their own rights. The characters’ fears that comes from past experiences and aspects of their upbringings are approaching with varying amounts of depth, ranging from fascinating to maddeningly simplistic. In the first half, the film’s messiest manifest themselves by way of scenes that work alone but lack enough connective tissue to always form a cohesive whole, and towards the ending, the script issues really only shown themselves as one moment that really brings a side character’s personality to an extreme that isn’t really earned.

It is something that I’m glad that I saw fit multiple reasons, but none of them were adequate in having me declare a positive opinion of it. The exploration of teenage angst by way of hormonal horror allows for complex themes, but a movie doesn’t have the time to apply that probing look to a half-dozen tweens in 2.25 hours. Its entertainment value wavers from great to underwhelming, and it’s funny at times but never is scary. It’s creepy and suitably macabre when warranted, but I often found myself wishing that it was as well rounded and centered as the thematically comparable A Nightmare on Elm Street. They even reference the franchise in It by way of advertising on the outside of a movie theater, but that’s the fifth movie, not the first. Maybe they knew what would make them look better by comparison and add to the ‘80s nostalgia. That’s a double whammy right there.

About the Author:

Senior year film student at Columbia College Chicago, Hollywood Film Festival pre-screener, and Best Social Media Presence for North Farmington High School's 2014 senior mock elections. Firmly believes that ".gif" is pronounced "jiff".
Filed in: Horror, Now Playing

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