I watched the new Stephen King’s It over the weekend because I’ve heard so many good things about it. And I wasn’t disappointed! There was so much to love about the movie. The kids were incredibly great actors and they pulled off really incredible and believable performances. The script and the dialogue was realistic and sounded like what kids should sound like. The overall story was engrossing and flowed beautifully; I didn’t even realize that It was more than two hours as the time just flew by. The sets were superb and fantastic because I really believed I was in sleepy town of Derry, Maine in the late ’80s. Even the makeup of Pennywise (the Dancing Clown) looked really good and the effects were seamless.
I actually avoided watching the film because I know Stephen King’s other works and he’s mainly a horror kind of guy. I’ve also heard that the original miniseries terrified kids when it was shown. If the cheesy looking effects scared stiff then, I expected them to really up the ante on the scares department in the new one. My friends also told me that it was rather frightening and Pennywise was nightmare inducing. Being a huge scaredy cat myself, I really had no plans to watch it. I don’t like horror movies and I don’t get why people do. I mean, who wants to be scared? But since everyone is just showering the film with accolades and praises, I just had to watch It and see what all the fuss was about.
This leads me to my biggest issue with It: it’s not scary.
I can definitely see why some fans are saying that It was terrifying, though. There’s a prevailing mood that’s dark and heavy. The child actors do a fantastic job of emoting their fears. And I definitely wouldn’t want to see a clown that looks as sinister as Pennywise, dancing clown or not. I will be fair and say that I did jump out of my seat a couple of times from the jump scare moments, like when Pennywise would just appear out of nowhere. But, weirdly enough, I wasn’t really clawing at my seat in fear or anything like that. I still thoroughly enjoyed watching It. But scared? Nope!
I think the biggest reason why the scares didn’t get to me was because I wasn’t the target of the scares. It, the creature, feeds off the fears of his (its?) intended victims to make them more tasty, I guess. Because of this, the creature does tailor fit his appearance to illicit the most frightening response from them. So, it does make sense why they’re so incredibly afraid of what they see. But me? I wasn’t really afraid of those things they were afraid of.
To fully explain what I mean, I’ll go mention a few of the kid characters, The Losers, and their fears. One of the kids, Eddie, is a hypochondriac and deathly afraid of germs and getting hurt thanks to his overbearing mother who probably coddled him throughout his formative years. He even takes pills at specific times because it was drilled into his noggin that he’ll get sick if he doesn’t. What does It do to scare the beejeezus out of Eddie? He turns into a leper. Okay, that should be terrifying for someone like Eddie who’s afraid of germs. But me? I’d be afraid to touch a leper, sure. But to the point that I’ll be tripping over myself and scrambling in the dirt? I don’t think so.
I also have to talk about my favorite of the Losers who just so happens to be the only female in the group, Beverly Marsh. She’s lived a hard life, to say the least. She’s being bullied at school because there’s a rumor floating around that she likes to sleep around with boys. But it’s also implied that Beverly is being abused by her very own father. The fact that it’s implied that the abuse is sexual makes it even more creepy. Honestly, the thought of this is really frightening but It never capitalizes on this. The first time she does encounter It, the creature sprays the entire bathroom with blood, probably symbolizing her first menstrual cycle as Beverly is seen buying tampons in the scene before that. Horrific, yes. But an abusive father is way more frightening I would say.
Finally, there’s the main kid, Bill, who’s definitely the leader of the Losers. Most of what drives Bill is that he’s haunted by the memory of his younger brother, Georgie. Bill probably feels partially to blame for Georgie going missing as he’s the one who gave him the toy boat on the day he went missing. He refuses to believe that Georgie is dead and Bill goes to great lengths to proving that he’s still alive somewhere out there. Now, It does try to capitalize on this, even changing its form to look like Georgie a couple of times in the film. This fear is, once again, understandable for me. I would really be crushed if I lost my brother or any of my parents. Bill’s fear, however, isn’t something that would make me afraid while watching a horror movie. The idea is soul-crushingly sad but nothing that would be immediately terrifying.
I also have to talk about Pennywise, the It in the movie. The creature is played by Bill Skarsgard and he does a generally wonderful job in bringing the maleficent character to life here. He does pull off a skin crawling performance and I will give him props for that. Despite that, I just wasn’t really scared of him. I can’t really fault Bill Skarsgard for this because I actually didn’t really think It’s overall look was all that frightening when in the daylight. He has a look that may look much more scary in real life because he looks more like a monster than an actual clown. I think I would’ve been more scared of Pennywise if he looked more clown like because, oddly enough, I’m kind of afraid of clowns in real life!
Like I said, I can see why people may say that It is a good horror film. But for someone like me who scares easily, I wasn’t scared all that much. The strange thing is I think it’s one of the films greatest strengths. It can be make you feel like your scared because you can see the terror of the kids’ faces when they face their fears. Thanks to their incredible performances, you kind of get sucked in and maybe thinking that even you’re scared of whatever is frightening them. Additionally, since you see the Losers face their fears but never actually conquer it, as in they don’t stop being afraid of whatever it is, it also makes you feel that it’s okay to be afraid of whatever it is you fear but that it shouldn’t control you.
Does this mean I’m totally fine with watching other horror movies like Annabelle: Creation?
No. Oh, God, no.
Have you see the Stephen King’s It? Did you find it scary? Let me know in the comments section below!