Announced, postponed, anticipated by a massive marketing campaign for a horror movie, the new adaptation of IT has finally come for the first time on the big screen.
As a massive fan of the book, I was really excited. But I started to feel worried when the director of True Detective Cary Fukunaga (credited as a screenwriter) was replaced by the Argentinian Andrès Muschetti (director of the not-so-memorable Mama).
I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is: IT is not a bad movie. The film was entertaining, narrated in a clear way, accessible to everyone, even for those who usually aren’t big horror movies fans.
The bad news is: IT is not a memorable movie. Muschetti approaches the movie following the contemporary blockbuster’s rules, using an anonymous and uninspired directing style, despite a beautiful cinematography by the Korean Chung Chung-hoon (loyal DOP of the director Park Chan-wook) making IT more similar to a well-made TV show than a movie for the big screen.
Some bad CGI effects, recurring use of lazy jump scares, and a forgettable soundtrack completely overwhelms the much-anticipated terror (with the exception of a couple of scary scenes).
Muschetti plays his best cards with the portrait of the Loser Club, especially thanks to an inspired cast. The highlights are Finn “Stranger Things” Wolfhard and, above all, Sophia Lillis, a young Amy Adams whom we will surely hear about again.
But the main attraction is, of course, the anthropomorphic form of IT: Pennywise the dancing clown played by Bill Skarsgård. The right choice of taking the distances from the iconic clown played by Tim Curry in the 1993’s miniseries is, unfortunately, badly managed.
Bill Skarsgård uses an overacting style, clearly inspired by the Heath Ledger’s Joker, and the results were not scary or threatening. One of the keys to the success of Curry’s interpretation (and the reason why he traumatised a generation) was his apparent tranquillity and normality ready to turn into something monstrous. Bill Skarsgård and Muschetti do the opposite: the new Pennywise is a concentrate of evil laughs, tics and monstrous contortions that, paradoxically, does not cause much sense of terror, which certainly will not replace Curry’s Pennywise in our nightmares.
Overall, IT was an enjoyable movie and I don’t regret paying for the ticket. But it left a bitter taste, as we know the immensity of the source material and the great cinematic potentials it has which was untapped.
I hope that for the second (and difficult) chapter Muschetti will take full advantage of these potentials.