I realized the other day that while IT has been out for almost 2 years, I still haven’t written an official review of the movie. I’ve been an avid follower of horror movies for probably around 5 years, and I can’t remember an event quite like the release of IT. The general, non-horror-obsessed public went crazy for the movie, evidenced by the 700 million dollars it grossed (highest for any horror movie of all time).
IT 2 (technically Part 2, but I’ll just call it 2) just released and I had the opportunity to watch them both, back-to-back. With a whopping run time of over 6 hours, my eyes might be bleeding, but you bet I’m gonna give you this mega review.
So let’s dive into the biggest horror movie event in recent history: IT.
So, if you haven’t read the source material, the book IT written by Stephen King is pretty weird. Like crazy weird. And super long. It’s almost 700+ pages, basically for no reason. Both of these aspects carry over to the film. It is super weird, and super long. Let’s talk about that.
First off, both movies suffer from a similar problem. They try to give each kid in the Losers Club their own scenes. Off the top of my head, I can think of a few times when they get their own moments. When we meet them, it’s one-by-one. When they first encounter the clown, it’s one-by-one. When they deal with their parents or bullies, usually one-by-one. Then in the second movie, they each get their own artifact/confront their pasts. This takes up the bulk of the movie. One-by-one.
A lot of the time, these individual scenes are supposed to be the frightening, jump-scare moments that make it… well, a horror movie. Except guess what? They aren’t scary. At all. Of the dozen-ish people I’ve talked to since the second movie came out, they all agree. It isn’t scary. Never before have I seen a movie with so many “scary scenes” -6 hours worth of them, with such a large budget, produced so professionally– and all but one or two completely flop. Here’s my estimate. There are at least 20 scenes that are supposed to be jump scares. And they aren’t. Maybe 2 or 3 have some kind of punch.
Whether you’re talking about the flashbacks in the second film, or that awful opening scene in the first film, it isn’t scary. Let’s talk about that opening scene, because it’s a perfect example of the problems of this series. Georgie goes into the basement. We hear that crescendo building. A haunting melody. Some kind of dark, threatening breath. Georgie runs up the stairs and we hear a Voldemort-esque wind chasing him and then the clown cackling.
Unless this is your first trip around the Horror block, this is a pitiful excuse for a scary scene.
When you have two movies that rely so heavily on a frightening clown, you gotta do better. You just have to. Pennywise isn’t scary. He just isn’t. At times, he can be borderline creepy, in a pedophile sort of way. But never once does he live up to the other mega-villains of classic horror franchises. Think about Michael Myers, or Freddy, or Jason, or even the Nun from the Conjuring movies. Pennywise is well below all of those. And the Nun isn’t even that good. The worst moments are when Pennywise shifts into his sharp-teeth, CGI-eat-your-face mode. A sewer clown is scarier than a shape-shifting bucket of needles.
Somewhat disconcerting is that, during the second film, it seems like the director even knows his product isn’t good. He constantly flashes back to moments from the first film that act as “deleted scenes” in a sense. And these are, sometimes, better than the second movie itself. (I, personally, liked the adults for the majority of the film, but apparently I’m in the minority here.) Because there is so much focus on the first movie, and because each kid has to get their own scene, the 3-hour epic somehow feels rushed, as if not everyone gets to speak what they should. It isn’t easy to make a 3-hour movie feel both crammed and unnecessarily long, but somehow IT is.
Let’s end on a positive note. Here are some good aspects of the movies.
The town itself is pretty creepy and makes for a great setting. There are lots of familiar, childhood spots like the creek and the arcade.
It is very obvious that the director knows what he’s doing in certain parts. The top example is when Georgie gets eaten and sucked down the drain. We pan overhead to watch him, while rain falls down around us, making for an awesome cinematic view. There are a handful of other moments that leave you in awe.
The bullies are pretty good in the first film, and then just as stupid in the second as they were good. But this is the “good” section, so I won’t talk about them right now.
But, hey, at least the trailer was pretty good.
Short, Finishing Thoughts
- I’m tired of seeing Pennywise lure and eat children, but I would definitely watch him do a stand-up comedy routine. Endlessly.
- ZOMBIES CAN’T DRIVE CARS. And I’d like to see a zombie license picture. Are they allowed to smile?
- This is a movie written for people who don’t wanna be scared but wanna say they saw a horror movie
- This is what happens when the horror genre is commercialized. HOT TAKE.
- I’m never watching another 3-hour movie that isn’t Braveheart or Lord of the Rings.
Overall Score For Each:
First, let me just say, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark is a very similar film to what IT tried to be. Each kid gets their own scenes. They exist in a creepy, country town, where bullies run around with bats and cars. There are lots of haunting monsters. There is a background struggle with growing up and change. While Scary Stories isn’t a great movie, it’s way better than either IT movie, and much, much shorter. Just watch that instead, really.