‘It’ Critic Reviews: Evil Clowns Create a Spookfest
The critics’ reviews are in. Here’s to making up your mind to watch Stephen King’s ‘It’ this weekend or not.
The film It is making waves everywhere, with audiences walking out “scared shitless” during the intervals. Well, here is what the critics have to say about the adaptation of Stephen King’s novel.
The new movie, a skillful blend of nostalgic sentiment and hair-raising effects, with the visual punch of big-screen digital hocus-pocus and the liberties of the R rating, still has the soothing charm of familiarity. The gang of misfit ’80s kids who face down the clown and the deeper horror he represents evoke both the middle school posse of the recent TV series ‘Stranger Things’ (there’s some overlap in the cast), but also the intrepid brotherhood from ‘Stand by Me,’ surely one of the all-time top five Stephen King movie adaptations. The filmmakers honour both the pastoral and the infernal dimensions of Mr. King’s distinctive literary vision. Derry, with its redbrick storefronts and its quirks and kinks, seems like a genuinely nice place to live in spite of the fact that its citizens, children in particular, turn up missing or maimed at an alarming rate.A O Scott, The New York Times
But It has two major saving graces: Muschietti’s eye for striking images is one of the film’s core assets, and his ghost story Mama often comes to mind throughout It. Unlike most monster movies, which withhold their central critters until the end to build up suspense and mystery, Muschietti put Mama’s monster on-screen early, and trained viewers to fear her for her unsettling eeriness and malice. He does the same with Pennywise, leaving any sense of mystery and dread out of the film, but replacing it with sharp shocks and Uncanny Valley creepiness.Tasha Robinson, The Verge
However, it doesn’t seem like everyone was happy with the film.
But as spine-tingling as a number of individual scenes are, the film struggles to find a proper rhythm. Scene-to-scene transitions are static and disjointed, settling into a cycle of ‘…and then this happened’ without deepening the overall dread or steadily uncovering pieces of a central mystery. Curiously, ‘It’ grows less intense as it goes, handicapped by an inability to take in the scope of Derry as a town defined by its buried traumas and secrets, let alone really plumbing the primal depths of fear that It itself represents. As Pennywise, Skarsgard is largely tasked with providing a canvas for the film’s visual effects, and he never manages to cast as long a shadow as Tim Curry did with the character in the 1990 TV miniseries.Andrew Barker, Variety
But the problem is that almost everything here looks like route one scary-movie stuff that we have seen before: scary clowns, scary old houses, scary bathrooms. In their differing ways, Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick were inspired by the potency of King’s source material to create something virulently distinctive and original. This film’s director, Andy Muschietti, can’t manage quite as much.Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Well, the critics’ verdict is in. Will you watch the film?
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