Sunday, May 12, 2019

Screaming Sunday: It: Chapter One

By sati (harlequinade) Sunday, May 12, 2019 , ,
Movie rating - 74/100
Plot: In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shape-shifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
The heroes: A group of adorable children.
The antagonists: An evil entity that takes many forms.
Best scene: The opening sequence.
Oh-oh something's not right line: Take it, Georgie.
What makes it so great? While the film doesn't blend the two genres too well - one being a story about kids growing up in a terrible town, the other a horror movie - it is one of the most entertaining horror films released in the last few years. The film went on to earn an incredible 700 million dollars worldwide, making it the highest grossing horror movie of all time and I have no doubt that Chapter Two, to be released in less than 4 months from now, is going to do even better than that, especially given its amazing first trailer that was released this week.

While it is in many ways this film is a soulless blockbuster - with the painfully episodic first half - it has several genuinely surprising, brilliant moments that belong in much ballsier horror films with less studio control over them. It's a mainstream horror film where a child is gruesomely killed in the first five minutes, where there are many references to physical, verbal and sexual abuse of the children and where a "child" is shot in the head. What also sets the movie apart from other horror films is that the heroes are children and that also gives the movie so much heart.  You immediately root for a group of kids in a way that you wouldn't for adults. The dangers these kids face aren't just supernatural - the adults in Derry are mostly horrible people and the scenes with Beverly's father and the bullies are more disturbing than the ones with the horrific supernatural entity. All of the child actors have wonderful chemistry together and deliver strong performances, the standouts being Finn Wolfhard as Ritchie, playing a much different character from the one he plays in Stranger Things, showstealing Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie and Sophia Lillis who is simply a revelation as Beverly.

The film has a lot of scenes that are really powerful, such as Beverly cutting her hair and the Losers hugging Bill after he collapses realizing that Georgie is never coming back.  It is not often when a horror can bring you tears when it simply focuses on its main characters and their pain. But it wouldn't all work as well as it does without a great antagonist and Bill Skarsgård is fantastic as Pennywise, a malevolent force that is taunting and haunting its victims. Pennywise actually has only 4 minutes of dialogue in the entire film, which only highlights what a wonderful performance this is, he is used as sparingly as Hannibal Lecter but it works so well. Skarsgård's Pennywise is already one of the most iconic villains of all time.
Scare factor: - 3/5 evil pumpkins - The film has a lot of very inspired scares - the disturbing way that Pennywise glitches while talking to Georgie, as if it suddenly forgot how to pretend to be human, and the librarian out of focus creepily grinning at Ben (they are both repeated to even more frightening effect in the trailer for Chapter Two). In addition to that, the jump scares are approached in a way that doesn't feel cheap - for example with entity suddenly changing into Pennywise, as it chases Ben or in  the brilliant projector scene.
Gore factor:- 3/5 bloody Leatherfaces - There are several scenes that are very disturbing but if you survive the beginning without running away from this movie, you will be fine.
Morbid trivia: During the alley scene where The Losers are conversing and tending to Ben's wounds, behind them is another mural of the infamous Bradley Gang Shootout, which is frequently referenced in the novel. Upon closer inspection, it reveals Pennywise hiding in plain sight. To the right of Stan's shoulder, Pennywise is shown to be watching the group and grinning. This implies that Pennywise has always been stalking the group even when they are completely unaware of it.
Is there a twist? No.
Life lessons from the movie: Never talk to strangers who are hiding in the sewers (you'd think it would be obvious!)
Unsuitable for: People who are already scared of clows.
Repercussions: Fear of sinks. Fear of wells. Fear of sewers. Basically everything that has any contact with water, apparantely.

14 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this movie, it had it all! the screenshots you posted reminded me how visually beautiful it was. can't wait for chapter II, currently reading the novel (it's a BEAST and I take forever...)

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    1. I just bought the novel on Friday! I hope I will read it until chapter two premieres but wow it is huge :)

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  2. I definitely enjoyed this movie, but you're right about it not blending the two genres together very well. I'm curious to see how chapter 2 compares to chapter 1. The adult cast is terrific!

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    1. I think it will go better because there will only be flashbacks to kids and the adults being leads this time will prevent it from feeling like 2 different movies like Chapter one did

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  3. IT ruined red balloons for me forever :)

    This is not a movie I expected to enjoy as much as I did but the kids and the acting sold it. Fingers crossed the adult versions are as good.

    I'm finally going to give the book a go this summer. I love King from this time period but I don't know if picturing Skargsaard is going to make it more or less frightening now!

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    1. I am reading the book right now and it's very gripping! Scary as hell though so I try to read it before it gets dark :)

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  4. I LOVE the new layout! I've been on mobile for the past few days so this is my first time seeing it on desk top. It's lovely.

    I love It so much, while not perfectly it's easily one of the best horror films out there, IMO. The kids were just great. I still hate that they made it in the 80's instead of the 50's though.

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    1. Thank you! I think it turned out pretty nice but I still need to modify few things, writing html on blogger is a nightmare

      Eh, I think it will work out in the end with the second part being in modern times, maybe Pennywise uses social media creatively or something :D

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  5. Gorgeous new layout! I'm so excited for IT Chapter 2. I always felt IT was more of a coming of age story with horror simply being the backdrop. The Loser's Club is what made IT Chapter 1 so successful, I think. I'm interested to see if the tone changes much in the upcoming movie.

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    1. Thank you! :D I think with Bill Hader alone we will all care so much what happens, the new actors are really likable and perhaps Chastain manages to be too :)

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  6. This is GORGEOUS. Well done, as always.

    I'm not sure if I appreciated this film enough when it came out, but reading your post here, I think I need to give it some more love. It's kind of assumed that the kids are amazing in their performances, but it's a crapshoot that any kid is good in a movie, let alone an entire group of them. These kids are all incredible here.

    That poster thing is a trip! I wonder if there are any more hidden/not-hidden Pennywises in the movie...hmmm...maybe re-watch it with my wife? (she REFUSES)

    I couldn't be more pumped to return to Derry.

    Brilliant!!

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    1. Thank you!

      My God, your poor wife. I hope you at least didn't drag her to Hellboy with you.

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  7. I had the strangest cinema experience with this one myself- I laughed and cried more than I was scared. I wasn't scared because I had read the book and knew things that were coming. I'm glad the movie didn't change much, but at the same time, I wasn't surprised by anything either. Except the performances, woah, I feel like the grown ups (cough chastain cough) are going to have a hard time following this gang of fire crackers!

    * starts waiting for chapter 2 *

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    1. I think the grown ups will do well, it's a very talented cast, also I'm sure they worked with younger actors to make their characters feel like the same people. That goddamn book is so long I'm still only on page 100 :D

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