Here’s some more thoughts on IT now that i’ve had time to process it and think about it a little more: I’ll be spoiler free mostly, but mark anything that might give stuff away.
The movie sets the tone early, and you know that this is going to be a more graphic film than the miniseries. In the opening 10 minutes you literally see a 6 year old boy getting his arm ripped off, followed by him crawling along the ground, crying, with blood going everywhere - before he’s pulled down a drain by Pennywise. Really disturbing way to open the film. From there on, it’s full steam ahead. The film doesn’t pull many punches, it shows you the most horrific imagery it can conjure up early on and leaves little to the imagination. That means it is often more intense than it is scary, but that’s fine with me.
The soundtrack is outstanding. I’ve never heard of Benjamin Wallfisch before, but his score for the film was more than just the same kind of disharmonic strings and sudden thuds that usually accompany horror films - It has genuine life to it. There’s levity where the film requires it, eerie piano and strings give a sense of nostalgia and melancholy that sounds soothing and sinister at the same time.
Bill Skarsgård is excellent as Pennywise. Most importantly, he’s not trying to copy Tim Curry’s legendary performance. He’s a lot more threatening from the moment we meet him and he becomes this ominous presence lingering over all the events that happen in Derry. He’s demonic in his appearance. He’s not funny, he’s not disarming, he’s just straight up evil. One of my favourite moments is during a scene where he is talking to a kid, he just zones out. His speech slows, his expression glazes and he starts drooling. Really fucking sinister, haha. I loved it. But by far the best thing about the movie is the cast of child actors playing the Losers’ Club. Every single character is perfectly cast, well fleshed out and performed to perfection. You really like all of these kids, and they actually talk and act in ways that are appropriate and consistent. It’s quite disarming to see a 14 year old say “What the fuck is this shit” every time something spooky happens, but it’s accurate - And it makes you chuckle because of the frankness.
Perhaps most crucially of all, I didn’t find IT to be all that scary. And you know what? That didn’t matter. Because the film is so damn good in every other aspect, the imagery is so violent and intense and horrific that the’res really not much time to build up a consistent sense of dread. Not to mention, there’s loads of humour and little pockets of relief scattered throughout the film. It almost gets a little bit too much at times such as the 80s blood cleaning montage set to The Cure but then you think of how a lot of other horror “remakes” end up losing their charm and character because they just try to be far too grimdark (see A Nightmare on Elm Street) - And you start to appreciate the movie for having personality and charm as well as intensity and horror.