Notice: I am not a horror guy, but I heard good things about It, so I went to check it out in the theater (along with my girlfriend for moral support).
I have pretty mixed feelings about It; I enjoyed the film but thought it had a lot more potential than paid off. I really liked the core cast of kids; however, the horror aspect of the film was lacking (this coming from someone who gets scared walking home at night).
Most of the horror scenes felt highly conventional – like they were just going through the motions. This feeling was probably because the scares were mostly reliant on jump-scares. By the end of the film, I was almost numb to the jump-scares because there were so many of them and I could see them coming – that being said, there was one amazing jump-scare near the end of the film.
I also thought the CGI was not used very well. There were a lot of scares reliant on CGI that really took me out of the film. I think I would have found Pennywise a little scarier if there was less CGI involved in his appearance. Also, there were other things It turns into that receive a lot less CGI-love than the clown himself.
On the flip side, I really enjoyed spending time with the Losers’ Club. I thought all the actors did a great job, and they had very good chemistry together. I truly believed in their friendship – which played a crucial role in the movie. I actually thought the core characters in the movie were so strong, the film should have focused on each of them more. I found myself wanting to learn more about each character and caring less about the monster.
– Soft Spoilers –
I’m not sure how spoilery this is, but the monster apparently feeds off the fear of its victims, so it would pinpoint each character’s phobias and exploit them. I wish this aspect had been explored more. It didn’t seem like many of the scares were exploiting the kids’ phobias, and in a lot of them, the scary thing would turn into Pennywise at the end – which is unsettling, but not what the kid fears. I really wish the film had taken its time to develop each character along with their fears and the monster’s exploitation of these fears instead of using cheap jump-scares and a creepy clown.
– End Spoilers –
In the end, I really found myself wanting It to explore the horrors of real life and how these tie into the horror created by the monster. The film was primed to succeed at this with an excellent cast but ultimately failed because it relied on jump-scares, underutilized scare-scenes, and didn’t spend enough time developing its characters.