With this DVD review, you are getting my first reaction to IT as I had not seen the movie in the cinemas. I had prior knowledge of the story but I had only seen parts of the original and had heard about the book.
Given that it is an eighties styled adventure written by one of my favourite authors, I was very excited to see this one. I must say, it did not disappoint. This is just a really fun watch. It is an adventure that gives you that ‘Jurassic Park’ feeling of being introduced to a brand new world.
However, the horror is really effective. The scenes in which Pennywise appears to the gang are intense and frightening but it is not the grim, dour horror film we have come to expect. You see picturesque shots of a cosy town and the nostalgic feel of friends adventuring on bikes. If anything, this makes the Pennywise visitations more scary.
An example of this contrast is the beginning of the film. We get a tinkling piano score and a warm and quaint relationship between brothers, luring you into a false sense of security. This is then brutally punctuated by Pennywise’s first attack. It pulls absolutely no punches and is far beyond the samey and predictable jump scares that plague cinemas nowadays.
There were some beautiful pieces of music in the soundtrack. A particular standout is in the intro and in the goodbye scene in the finale. Some great things were done with sound to add to the intensity of moments. If someone noticed Pennywise in the background of an old photograph or painting, giggling could be heard in the background. Very creepy. With that said, the soundtrack overruled the actors at times; you sometimes couldn’t hear them over the music.
Coy camera angles and manipulation of speed really add to the nightmarish atmosphere. Camera work is also used to turn the most mundane and ordinary things into part of an epic, dramatic world. This aids the world-building, making you want to hang out in that universe.
I find Pennywise absolutely fascinating. His physicality and design is really cool. Bill Skarsgard completes the character with a truly unnerving and in many ways, primal performance. The pay-off of the ‘float’ motif in his lair is amazing.
The dynamic with the gang works really well, especially because they are all great actors. Eddie and Richie are easily the best characters; hilarious dialogue that is delivered charmingly by two very talented actors.
I love this film and it is something that I will re-watch often. The DVD version has really nice cover art. It is a card slipcase with only artwork on it, it looks like a book. It’s a really nice item. If the original film and the source material is anything to go by, this is only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to learn about Pennywise. I cannot wait for the return to Derry.