The main issue I have with this film is that it isn’t actually scary. Sure, its a well-made film, decent cast (Sophia Lillis, who plays Beverly, is the real standout and steals the movie from everyone – including the clown). I gather its a sincere adaptation and has been rewarded by big, big box-office, but as far as horror films go, if scares and chills are the target, then this is just simply an abject failure. Maybe that’s the secret for its success at the box-office – its horror made palatable, made safe, made mundane. Hey-ho for the future of horror movies now that Hollywood has cottoned on to that one.
Okay. I have to admit, I’ve never read the original Stephen King novel. I had a spell in the early-eighties when I read much of the authors’ work up to that time- The Stand (my favourite), Christine, The Dead Zone, some others… I just never got around to It, and by the time I’d suffered through The Tommy knockers my interest with King had waned and I’d turned to Lovecraft and others for my horror-fiction kick. I’ve since returned to reading King’s work,mostly his latter material, but no, I never read It.
I’d never seen the previous tv miniseries adaptation either, somehow. People have often, over the years, remarked upon the tv adaptation as being great but for some reason it never got my attention enough to actually sit down and watch it. So this new film adaptation, that actually spreads the lengthy (standard King, then) novel across two films (there’s points there, surely, for the sheer bravery of shooting part one and waiting to see if audiences responded enough for a second helping) was rather akin to virgin territory to me.
My most overwhelming impression? Other than ‘where’s the scares?’ it would have to be ‘what was all the fuss?’ Its pretty much The Goonies for horror fans, albeit without the horror. I don’t know- maybe the film scared the bejeezus out of somebody somewhere but they must be of a pretty delicate disposition, surely. Or maybe I’m jut missing something. Wasn’t the clown supposed to be scary?
Maybe it was the CGI stuff. There did seem to be a lot of CGI. I’m not at all sure CGI trickery really works in horror movies, at least for me- it loses some of the more, well, analogue scares, the sense of reality, as much of the time when film-makers use CGI, subtlety isn’t exactly what they are aiming for. Or maybe it was all the standard King tropes that pattern so much of his fiction and their movie adaptations (I’ve seen more movies based on King’s work than actually read King’s work, like most people I suspect). Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Or maybe, just maybe, this film isn’t really all its cracked up to be. Anyway, I’ll wait and see what happens in the upcoming part two before maybe finally turning my attention to the tv version from yesteryear.