Although the recent movie adaptation of Stephen King’s novel The Dark Tower became a major motion picture flop, King fans won’t leave the summer disappointed. Reminiscent of the recent Netflix hit Stranger Things, It proves to live up to the hype of the year’s big horror flick. From witty, comedic dialogue and enjoyably intricate characters to heart-pounding suspense and unsettling imagery, It has everything you could ask for in a horror movie and then some, all perfectly sewn together with incredible acting and beautiful directing.
Clocking in at about two hours and fifteen minutes, the movie’s a slow burn with an ever-so-steadily developing plot and cast. Although horror is implemented from the very beginning and scattered all throughout, the movie spends large amounts of time going into the personal lives of all six of the main protagonists, creating a greater interest and concern for all of them as well as making the movie much easier to invest in. The acting, although a bit rough at times by Wyatt Oleff and Chosen Jacobs, was surprisingly well done and believable, assuring us that we have something to look forward to from this new generation of actors in the years to come.
While I would consider this movie to be one of the better ones of the year, It was not without its flaws. The first of these was the clown itself. Bill Skarsgard’s acting was exceptional, and the costume and makeup were stunning; however, the actual character of Pennywise was quite dull and uninteresting. In the character’s first appearance, he plays the part of an eccentric, lunatic clown and seems to have a lot of depth to his character. However, after his first on-screen interaction, which is at the very beginning of the movie, he goes on as simply an evil, supernatural spirit out to kill and capture children without anything unique or interesting about him.
In addition to the lack of depth of the main antagonist, the story itself is also very simple and dry. The fact that there is an evil clown terrorizing children and kidnapping them is understood in the opening scenes, and besides character development, no more complexity or mystery is added, greatly taking away from the continuous elements of suspense and fear of the unknown. The movie is, essentially, just a clown using creative ways to scare the crap out of a bunch of kids who then band together in an attempt to stop it. The ending to the whole ordeal is also very predictable and is a bit of an upset after watching the plot develop for so long. However, the ending does have an unexpectedly strong and important message that is incredibly relevant to the world we live in today. The kids realize that the only reason evil exists is because of their fear of it, and when you accept the wicked and unsettling and face it with courage, then the evil itself will fade away and there will be nothing unpleasant about it.
At the end of the day, It was a success. Unlike many modern horror movies, especially those adapted from books, it met the high expectations set for it while raising the bar for horror and non-horror movies in years to come. It’s the perfect blend of disturbing, relatable, moving, and scary, and it shows all of us why it’s not irrational to fear clowns.