An hour into the latest film adaptation of Stephen King's It, I had cocooned myself so deeply inside a Forever 21 cardigan that my skin had become faux wool. All I could see through the fabric were shadows on the screen and all I could think was "Dear God, please, no more clown."
What follows is a review of the film based on what I saw from behind my sweater.
It arrived in theaters Sept. 8 and has been making viewers inadvertently pee themselves ever since. The film is the product of Andrés Muschietti, best known for directing the 2013 horror film Mama, another movie that does not make viewers feel calm in any way. It had a killer opening weekend (pun admittedly intended), making more than $117 million.
Very soon into the movie, I could tell It was an incredibly well-crafted addition to the horror genre. The most obvious giveaway being that, as soon as it started, I wanted to leave. The better a horror movie is, the faster it encourages me to run away and never watch it again. If this trend were to be graphed, scientists would call it the "Cowardly Quitter Curve."
Though my vision was largely obscured — due to the fact that the images on the screen made me feel incredibly unsafe the entire time — I was able to pick up on a few plot points. In the town of Derry, Maine, there are many children, which is unfortunate because about every 27 years, a demonic shape-shifting entity dubbed "It" emerges and starts eating them. But before It eats them, It terrorizes them. This is simply It's way. Though It can take any form, the monster is usually seen as an chilling showman who calls himself "Pennywise the Dancing Clown."
There are many adorable children, mostly boys and one girl, who, after being scared out of their goddamn minds, team up to try and defeat the hellish creature once and for all. I wish I could tell you more about them but, as you know, I was actively trying not to watch the movie. Stephen King's 1986 novel goes into much more detail, I assume. I have not read it, as it is very long.
I would like to take a moment just to emphasize how scary Pennywise is. He is a monster of epic proportions, unbelievably frightening, with a haunting cadence and eyes somehow both alien and human. He is always drooling or taunting or biting off someone's arm for no good reason. I hate him, though I respect him. Pennywise was often the reason I was trying to burrow directly into the reclining theater chair. The creature is played by Bill Skarsgård, who is a very handsome Swedish man, though you would never know under the mountain of makeup it takes to turn him into a horrible monster.
It features pop-out scares, slow building scares and non-stop scary sequences. The makers of this film have gone above spine-chilling and straight to spine-freezing. Though I couldn't always see the screen, it was exciting to hear reactions from the packed theater as viewers were taken on a cinematic journey through the terrifying twists and turns of haunted houses and dark sewers.
With countless monsters, a classic story and fast-paced scares, It is proving to be the exact flick box offices needed to appease audiences in the upcoming spooky months. It's a non-stop nightmare that builds upon the original novel and 1990 film.
Granted, I was curled into an anxious ball the entire time It was playing, so these are all just guesses based on the little I saw when I wasn't busy screaming.