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IT clowns around but fails to terrify

It’s been a funny old week on the nostalgia front – no, not doing that joke – here at Popcorn Towers.

Firstly, a band of my youth (LA Guns, don’t judge) have returned with an album that’s almost as good as the stuff that made me love them. Another (Gun) have bettered themselves.

And then two literary giants that are the cornerstones of my reading life have hit the big screen.

The other, involving a bear of very little brain, will be chuntered about shortly – because, first, we have to talk about IT.

And I’m not really that keen to.

Partly because the ‘no spoiler’ house rule is actually going to make my rantings a bit tricky towards the end.

And partly because I really don’t want to not like this film.

Now, granted, my memory is perhaps not the strongest some 20 years after I last read this Stephen King masterpiece.

I remember certain things about this book – the bullying, the fear, the grown-ups returning to face those fears.

I don’t remember certain other things – in particular, how the kids bond in the sewers.

I think is is because, in the main, the bullying and fear are what I chimed with as a child.

As someone who had a fun two years being the focus of racial abuse and threats of violence, these were themes that really hit home and made the book more personal.

And that’s why I really, really wanted to love this film.

I wanted to escape into that psychologically tortuous world once more. I wanted to relive that emotional rollercoaster.

But I was denied that on two fronts.

One, while hinted at and suggested, the fears the children are feeling aren’t front and centre.

Instead we get traditional ‘big scream’ horror tropes and a score that just shouts at you instead of insinuating.

Subtlety has been given the night off here.

Then there’s the ending.

Now, you may have seen it already. You may have heard. You may have noticed it on IMDB.

But I hadn’t.

And in case you haven’t, I’ll spare you the details.

Suffice to say that just before the credits rolled, I swore.

And carried on swearing on the way home.

It’s just unnecessary.

Anyhoo, can’t say no more guv’nor so onwards to the positives.

Because there are some.

For a start, the young stars of the show are all fantastic.

They own this film and convey all the fears and fragility so evident in the book.

And the individual scary moments are handled well, with not too much excessive screaming.

Which can’t be said for later scenes, but I digress…

If you ignore the fact this is IT, and park the emotional attachments to the source material, what you have here is a perfectly passable horror flick about a clown.

Bill Skarsgard isn’t particularly terrifying as Pennywise, but to be fair he gets upstaged by the CGI, so what’s he to do?

But ultimately, IT falls flat. A heavy touch and some infuriating studio decisions robbing us of the film this could have been.

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Unsalted Popcorn
A fresh approach to film reviews - no spoilers, just honest and heartfelt opinions.