The highly anticipated remake of Stephen King’s clown-centric horror novel, It, is finally here. But did the movie actually live up to all the hype? And how did it stand up to the original movie, released in the ’90s?
The original It is a horror movie classic, and remaking it was a bold move. It’s fair to say fans have so many nostalgic feelings about the original, it was tough to know how they would feel about a remake. But in 2017, we’re all fans of nostalgia, and remakes of Full House, Gilmore Girls and other classic shows and movies have only delighted die-hard fans of the originals. So why not go for an It remake that looks even more spine-tingling and unnerving than the original?
The only way to judge the success of the It remake right now is to either see it or check out the reviews floating around on the internet. The internet is full of opinions about this, and so are the pros reviewing it.
In case you forgot how freaking scary it looked like it was going to be and what also influenced the critics who reviewed It, here’s the trailer to refresh your memory:
Now, for the fun part: here’s what the critics had to say about It.
Obviously, the internet had mixed reactions
The internet can’t agree on anything, ever, so if you’re just scrolling through Twitter, you’re going to get a mix of people who thought It was the most terrifying thing they’d ever seen, people who thought it was more boring than watching paint dry and everything in between.
That new IT Movie is actually shit..like it's not even scary lol
— Benny (@Beno_ldn) September 10, 2017
IT is so scary!! pic.twitter.com/VaPcN1uQ1o
— Mr.Weast (@ShanyeWeast) September 10, 2017
watched IT.. enjoyed IT
But IT not that scary
— KEEM 🍿 (@KEEMSTAR) September 10, 2017
why is everyone acting like "IT" wasn't scary I'm still shaking
— indy (@itsindysev) September 10, 2017
Honestly IT was funnier than it was scary
— Makaela kestner (@MakaelaKestner) September 10, 2017
— Mrs. JenzyJenJenzinitaIn BitchinSurgicalMenopause (@47young1) September 9, 2017
You get the idea. For every tweet saying It was scary, there’s one saying it was funny. That’s just the nature of horror movies. Some people are freaked out by them, and others laugh all the way through.
Professional reviewers were also a mixed bag
As far as the professional reviews go, there was consensus on some things, but not others. The old version of It was set in the 1950s, so the new version got moved to the 1980s. Some thought that was a good idea, because the ’80s are more familiar to many of the people watching the film, and it allowed for references to nostalgic things like Michael Jackson and New Kids on the Block. Others thought it erased the innocence that came with the idyllic 1950s small-town setting.
Some also thought the length of the movie (a little over two hours) forced the timing to be a little off in places. As TheWrap put it, “Horror is like comedy in that timing is everything. If you hold a shot too long or for too short a time, the image will no longer have the power to scare us. Muschietti doesn’t quite get this balance right when he first reveals Skarsgård’s Pennywise in a storm drain. It feels as if the shots need to be held slightly longer for the full sense of dread to be captured, but Muschietti does not have time to linger here.”
And The Hollywood Reporter wanted the scary scenes to tie together better, creating a more cohesive sense of terror for the audience throughout the entire movie: “Pennywise, we learn, is a shapeshifter who can take on whatever form is most frightening to his victim. And the film gets right into those hauntings, with a series of sequences in which, targeted when each is alone, the kids seemingly hallucinate horrible things. Though effective individually, the scenes don’t build upon each other to fill us with dread.”
But the pros agreed on some things
Almost every review agrees: The movie’s core group of stars, a gang of young teen outcasts who call themselves the Losers’ Club, is exceptionally well cast in the remake. As Polygon put it, “The camaraderie among the cast of teen actors who deliver fantastic performances as members of the Losers’ Club keeps the movie feeling so invigorating minute after minute. There’s an enormous amount of pressure on these teens to make the audience care about their characters. Without the Losers’ Club, IT doesn’t have anyone to root for. Each individual performance stands on its own and contributes to the most important quality the film succeeds on: its ability to endear.”
A lot of reviews also seemed to love Bill Skarsgård as creepy clown Pennywise.
“As Pennywise, the deeply spooky spectre who appears in the guise of the teens’ greatest fears, Skarsgård is icily menacing, the character’s evil eyes freezing the audience in its tracks,” Screen International‘s review reads. “Mostly appearing as a creepy clown, Skarsgård taps into the disturbing juxtaposition of frivolity and derangement that many people associate with this common children’s entertainer.”
Most seem to also agree that the ending straight-up sucked
Caution — spoilers ahead!
Are special effects ruining horror movies? A lot of It‘s reviews seem to kind of allude to that, especially when they talk about the ending, which is basically the Losers’ Club battling It as a giant CGI monster. After all the slowly building creepiness of the rest of the movie, the final scenes feel a little too thriller and not enough horror.
“As creature design has become easier and more elaborate, thanks to digital techniques, it has also become less imaginative,” the New York Times writes. “Movie monsters resemble one another more and more, and movies of distinct genres feel increasingly trapped within the expected. The climactic sequence of IT sacrifices horror-movie creepiness for action-movie bombast, staging a big fight in a cavernous space. We might as well be looking at superheroes.”
It isn’t an award winner, but it’s a lot of fun
Despite all the mixed reviews, It delivers on what horror movies are supposed to deliver on: It’s creepy at times, funny at times, solidly entertaining and well worth the price of a ticket. It’s probably not going to be up for any Oscars or anything, but you should probably see it anyway, especially if you’re a fan of horror movies or Stephen King.