Stephen King’s It, Horror Film of the Year?

Opening in the UK on the 8th of September well before horror season truly starts, I predict ‘It’ will be the horror film of the year. One of my most anticipated films of the year ‘It’ is set to break horror box office records and the box office record for a September opening weekend. The film focusses on the childhood portion of Stephen King’s novel of the same name, featuring Bill Skarsgard as the seminal Pennywise the Dancing Clown and a whole host of superb child actors. I will throughout this review explain why I think this film will become a horror great, I will also try to accurately describe how terrified I was the entire time.

With most films they are built on a great cast and this film certainly show cases a new generation of actors. Standing out to me are Jaeden Leiberher as Bill Debrough and Sophie Lillis as Beverly Marsh. Leiberher shows the great mix of conviction and fragility that makes Bill Denbrough a great character, the stutter isn’t over played and makes the character more realistic and vulnerable. Lillis as is said in the film is highly reminiscent of the a young Molly Ringwald, following in the footsteps of other young female actors in combining traditional femininity with a tough carefree attitude. These two and their chemistry together is something that really stands out from the film. One actor that cannot be ignored is Bill Skarsgard playing Pennywise, the most terrifying character in the film is given justice through some truly brilliant acting. Skarsgard had a lot to live up to following Tim Curry and really brings it, combined with the costuming Pennywise’ voice sent shivers up my spine. In fact at the first sighting of the clown multiple people screamed in the cinema, after the initial shock Skarsgard continued by making the performance so horrifying I couldn’t look away.

it-bill-skarsgaard-pennywise

So what makes this film so different from others that have been or will be released this year? The structure and way the film creates horror is something completely retro, having a main antagonist the audience actually gets to see after an initial shock is something not often done in current cinema. The initial shock uses a lot of current techniques such as the building of tension and a sharp sudden shock paired with tension infused music. However after this the horror continues with gruesome and twisted scenes playing with individual characters fear. One moment I found particularly petrifying was the scene opening the film involving Pennywise and Georgie Debrough, this was featured heavily in trailers but still managed to make me hold my breath. These frightening moments continue throughout the film without really any breathers, a majority of the film was viewed through my fingers because of this.

As with all horror films the score plays a large role in creating tension, featuring a score crafted by Benjamin Wallfisch the film certainly brings the tension. Using sharp sudden shocks alongside quite backing music the score conveys the mood of all the different scenes and especially the continuous horror that creates most of the action.

The films differences really are what makes it so great and for me what makes it stand out from the rest of the horror films available at the moment. I am excited to see how this franchise plays out in the future especially since I haven’t finished the novel yet. As with all horror films I always recommend going to see it in cinemas as the experience and atmosphere truly is everything. And one final point you wouldn’t believe how confusing it is to tell people you’re going to see ‘It’.

5/5

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