The hype-train is going full speed to the new Chapter of It since most people enjoyed so much Chapter One! This is certainly another sign of how I don’t know much about cinema, as I’m surely mistaken… Why, you’re wondering, what do I think of It: Chapter One by Andy Muschietti?
Let’s start with some positive things. There’s blood in this horror movie, great! And acting-wise, the kids are all fine, which means that Muschietti directed them well. The film also manages to characterize fully most of them (obviously not the Afro-American one, who’s practically treated like Token in South Park, but in South Park it’s done for satirical purposes!). So we get a fair idea of the background and motivations of the three, four main kids. Also, the dialogues among them are credible and quite brilliant, even if perhaps this is due to the book written by Stephen King rather than the movie itself. I liked the soundtrack, both the original pieces (nothing memorable, but honest), and the use of the various pop songs by Anthrax, The Cult and The Cure, among others. The 27-years old Bill Skarsgård is scary as the clown, and an adequate cinematography also helps in many scenes (for example, the colors and lights of the first scene in which he speaks to the young Georgie from the manhole are really gorgeous). I guess that’s all… Shall I start with the negatives? No, I have to talk about a neutral thing first.
Why does it all have to be set in the 80s now? The book on which the movie is based takes place in the 50s! But now the 80s’ nostalgia is a thing, and so here we are in 1988 in order to be able to listen to The Cult (which I even like, but that’s not the point) and to go around by bicycle as in E.T.: The Extraterrestrial by Spielberg and in Stranger Things, that is the unofficial remake of E.T.: The Extraterrestrial by Spielberg (It: Chapter One and Stranger Things also share the young Finn Wolfhard). So there you go, the film takes place in the 80s.
And now for the bad things. Maybe I’m wrong, but It is a standard monster movie, and the monster is Pennywise who kills a lot of people. Then, the monster is scary only if it’s not on screen every two minutes. The film starts well, with the scene of the first attack that manages to create tension. Then, however, it’s a series of jump scares accompanied by loud noises (sometimes music, sometimes ambient noise) and fast motion sequences (these are really tiresome, all the new mainstream horror films are filled with them, are they that useful?). The first jump scare can work, the second one too… then it’s just annoying! So, after a while when Pennywise appears it’s unable to be scary because we are used to it! It has more screen time than the kids! The film fails blatantly in its intent to scare due to this senseless desire to show you the monster the whole time.
As for the plot, the main idea is that Pennywise exploits the fears of children to kill them and feed on them, but when the children aren’t afraid it’s unable to do so. The problem is that on many occasions it’s alone with one of the protagonists and still fails to kill him despite the kid being afraid! Why? Why does it sometimes fail and sometimes not? This isn’t clear, or at least the film doesn’t explain it. This weakens the finale in which the whole group fights against Pennywise without any fear, because there’s no consistency in the encounters with the monster.
And one last thing: why is there a scene in which the group breaks up and everyone feels sad and then after a while they all reunite as if nothing had happened? We’ve seen it in a million movies already! THAT’S ENOUGH!!! It serves no purpose, everybody knows that the group will reform in five minutes… just avoid it already, please. We have seen it too many times to be surprised/excited by the fact that the old friends eventually help each other.
To make it short, It: Chapter One seemed to me a movie like a thousand others, competently filmed and adhering to all the currently-mainstream rules in high-budget horror movies (excessive jump scares, fast motion sequences, 100% CGI special effects). It doesn’t scare at all and I started forgetting it immediately at the end of the credits. But of course everything’s set up for a sequel… which I’m not going to see (at least, not in a cinema).
Now tell me: why am I wrong? Ciao!