+ high-res version

Watched: 16 November

Some critics seem to be down on the calculated 1980s-ness of this Stephen King adaptation, and there’s no doubt that – like Stranger Things – it’s a work that is falling over itself to pay homage to a whole load of obvious touchstones of the era, but I don’t begrudge any of that at all or feel overly bothered by it; it’s the period of time in which I was a kid, so most of it pushes my buttons as intended. However, although I enjoyed all the Stand-By-Me-isms and all the Goonies-isms, this new version of It is let down by its lack of genuine chills, though as per the 1990 TV mini-series the extent to which it scares you will ultimately be determined by whether or not you suffer from coulrophobia. The film deals with trauma and abuse and bullying without ever allowing the audience to be bummed out by such subjects, and I assume that it has been designed to appeal to teenagers who haven’t yet been exposed to common, cliched horror tropes (children singing nursery rhymes, sudden jump scares in basements, etc); and judging by the unexpected box office success the movie has found a ready and willing audience. I prefer the TV two-parter, personally, but will certainly find the time to watch the second part of this iteration of It when it is released in 2019, especially if they pass it over to a director who can conjure some compelling, frightening horror. (***)


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