We went to see IT on Friday.
I should start by telling you that I’m allergic to Stephen King films. I’ve seen most of them, and only one hasn’t made me do like Captain Picard.
The one film was 1408, and that was mainly because I haven’t read the short story it’s based on. 1408 smelled and tasted like King’s novels, and that was the thing that made me like it so. It felt like it hadn’t been amputated on several places in order to be squeezed onto the silver-screen. That’s very rare with King filmings. They’re bent and distorted, like the essence had been drained from them.
I was hoping the new IT to be an exception to the rule. Sadly, it wasn’t.
Turning a monster of a book into a two-part film is a huge task. The book needs to be edited down, scenes need to be shortened, and some parts need to be cut out entirely. Sometimes the surgery is a success. With IT, it wasn’t.
IT started out in a very promising way. The cast, especially the kid from Stranger Things, seemed likeable and un-annoying, and the town of Derry looked pretty much like I'd imagined it. The pressing sense of child’s fear was there when Georgie went to the cellar to get Gulf wax, the elated child’s joy was there when he ran along the rain-filled gutter with his boat. And then something happened. It wasn’t the fact that to me Tim Curry’s IT is the one and only IT, but something else. I could have lived with the new Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård did a bang-up job despite his young age, it was something I can’t put my finger, a combination of little things that ruined this version of IT for me.
As a book, IT was amazing. I loved every word, even when Stephen King had an obvious rambling fit. As a film, it failed on so many levels I actually sighed in the middle of it, shifted uncomfortably, and wondered whether it would be highly impolite to get up and go see what material the curtains around the screen were made of. The cast was good, the scenery was lovely, cgi was pretty decent, but plot, dialogue, and the general feel of the film managed to make me want to scream in frustration.
At one point, I wanted to cry out “Donkey!” and that says a lot about the depth of words exchanged.
I’ve never been that into horror films. I like psychological drama with supernatural elements, I enjoy a good splatter every once and again, but the kind of horror that resorts to just trying to scare the audience isn’t my goblet of red. It somehow seems so cheap to have a monster pop out from the shadows with a loud noise. You jump, you scream, you laugh at yourself, and after you’ve seen it five times, it gets old. Sadly, IT stooped to this. IT went BOO, the audience screamed and giggled, and this went on for over two hours.
I’m disappointed, really. I expected to feel real terror like I did when I was reading the book and then decided it was time to sleep and the flat was dark and I was alone and suddenly I didn’t just think but KNEW that someone was behind me and I’d race to bed and hide under the covers and KNOW that IT was there, waiting for me to come out so IT could feast on my fear.
I still feel that fear sometimes, but this film did nothing to rouse it.