I was skeptical going into the remake of Stephen King’s “It”. I am a horror movie fan and I had seen the 1990s mini-series and wasn’t impressed. Remakes can be worse than the original.
However, I was pleasantly surprised with this one. I liked it more than I thought I would. It had a compelling enough story, predictable in parts and was fast paced enough that two-plus hours didn’t seem that long.
In a nutshell, or in a red balloon, Pennywise’s (Bill Skarsgård) calling card, “It” takes place in 1988 in the fictional town of Derry, Maine. “It” is the story of Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) whose little brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) was kidnapped by Pennywise while playing with a paper sailboat in the rain. A year later, Billy believes his brother is still out there and he goes with his friends, Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and Beverley (Sophia Lillis) to look for Georgie.
Along the way, Pennywise and his red balloons make several appearances and attempts to kidnap the children, appearing in their homes, while they are outside and especially while they are alone, often lunging at them out of the darkness or hiding behind a bunch of his red balloons. He uses his red balloons and the line, “You’ll float, too,” which is said in a hoarse, gravelly voice and can elevate to an unnerving scream.
Will Billy find Georgie? Can these friends band together to stop this malicious clown?
This movie had a very 1980s movie feel in spots. There are multiple scenes where you see the group of seven children riding bikes to the sewer well which reminded me of “The Goonies” - friends banding together to go on an adventure.
There is another scene where bullies, known as the Bowers Gang, led by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) including: Belch (Jake Sim), Victor (Logan Thompson) and Patrick (Owen Teague) beat up Mike (Chosen Jacobs) and the other children come to his aid. One screams “rock wars” and they begin throwing rocks at each other, eventually scaring off the Bowers Gang. This was very “Stand By Me”- ish; friends defending each other against bullies. The film even comments on its 80s-like appearance in places, with one of the characters referring to redheaded Beverly, by saying, “Who invited Molly Ringwald?”
For a horror movie, “It” had a number of funny parts. Beverly teases Ben about liking the New Kids On The Block. After he is attacked and cut by Pennywise, the other kids are bandaging him up and Beverly asks if they’re using “the right stuff,” the title of a New Kids On The Block song.
In a similar scene, after being chased and attacked by Pennywise, one of the kids comments that another is “leaking Hamburger Helper.” Later on, Eddie refers to the medication he takes as “gazebos,” (placebos).
Did I find “It” scary? No. There were jumpy parts, like just about every time Pennywise launches out of the darkness towards a child. Watching to see where Pennywise was going to appear made me a little nervous, but, scary movie nervous. Overall I found this movie entertaining.
Should you see “It” in the theater? If you were a fan of the book and miniseries and want to, then it might be something to consider.
Although I enjoyed this movie, I’d say you can probably wait until “It” comes out on DVD/streaming services.