Box Office Democracy: It
The original It miniseries came out when I was in first grade. My parents, being reasonable people, didn’t let me watch it, I’m pretty sure I didn’t even know it existed back then. But an elementary school has kids in it so much older than six and while I wouldn’t want my 10 or 11 year-old watching It they were certainly out there. The imagery from that miniseries became the urban legends of our school. The unused fifth floor had an evil clown living there and on an on. Why did an elementary school in a busy urban area have an entire unused floor? I assume to make urban legends easier to stick. I saw the miniseries myself in middle school and honestly was still probably too young to deal with all that stuff. I’ve been scared of It for as long as I can remember. I don’t think they should make movies based on It, I think all the copies of the book should be put in some giant box and never be touched again. It scares me to the bone with almost no provocation needed and this new movie is spectacularly terrifying, I believe even to people without all the built-in baggage I brought to it.
It’s basically impossible to adapt an 1100 page book and not have to leave an awful lot out. Luckily adaptation is an art form and not just a mechanism for translating a movie literally to the page (Peter Jackson I’m still quite angry with you for those Hobbit movies). It leaves an awful lot out on the way to a 135 minute version of half a giant novel but it certainly gets the gist of it right. There’s an evil clown trying to kill a bunch of kids and said clown has probably been doing it at this same spot for a good long time. Bullies are terrible and adults don’t really care about the plights of children. Oh, and the whole thing is balls-to-the-wall scary the entire time. The atmosphere of menace only lifts for fleeting moments and it took every ounce of my willpower not to watch those moments though my fingers.
I am a bit of a pushover when it comes to horror movies. Even bad ones where you 100% know when the jump scare is coming can get me hunched down in my chair and averting my gaze. It probably isn’t enough to tell you that I was scared during It but so was everyone else in my theater. From my seat in the third row I could see that the entire theater was cringing and averting their eyes. Statistically there must have been some horror mavens in that theater and no one was having an easy time. This is the director of Mama, a movie I’ve often cited as the least comfortable I’ve ever been in a movie theater, finding new and more cunning ways to manipulate feelings of terror. I never want Andy Muschietti to make another horror movie. I can’t stand the idea of him getting better at this. I will be there for It Chapter 2 the day that it opens.
I lived the last month of my life dreading seeing It. I had to stop watching Nick at Nite when I went to bed because they would run commercials for it and it was too much for my subconscious to bear just before asking it to cook up some new dream ideas. It ran a brilliant marketing campaign and backed it up with the scariest movie I’ve seen since Crimson Peak. In a perfect world the story would have had a little more time to breathe but this is already on the long side for a horror movie and I can’t figure out what I would cut. I’m anxiously awaiting the second part and planning what show I will have to watch on Netflix while I go to sleep because I won’t be able to stand those trailers either. I’ll never quite be free of It but at least the rest of the world can live in the same mental hell as I do now. Hooray!