I’m not a fan of horror movies. I’m incredibly jumpy, so putting myself in a situation where I know this will be played upon isn’t appealing to me at all. Yet, when a group of friends asked me to see “IT” (2017) on opening night, I couldn’t say no, as usual, and found myself packed in a car on my way to the theater, nervously laughing with my friends about what we were getting ourselves into. I didn’t know anything about the movie other than a clown being involved and that it looked terrifying, so the only expectation I had was that I would be scared and probably regret my decision of going.
“IT,” which is based off of Stephen King’s book by the same title, follows the story of Bill Denbrough’s (Jaeden Lieberher) quest to avenge his brother’s death from Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), a.k.a. It. He recruits the help of his friends, who are considered misfits and outcasts, and together they form the Loser’s Club. While they try to defeat It, each child is visited and terrorized by their own personified fears. Together, they attempt to fight their own demons and stop It from killing more children in their town.
The movie grossed $123.1 million in its opening weekend, having the most successful opening weekend for a horror film and a September release, as well as coming second only to “Deadpool” (2016) for having the highest-grossing R-rated movie debut. After seeing the film, it’s success doesn’t come as a surprise to me.
“IT” had all the makings of a typical horror movie. There were definitely a good number of jump scares and blood pressure-rising moments that made me shrink down into my seat and peek through almost-closed eyelids. A few of the scenes left my friends and me saying, “What the heck just happened?!” in disbelief and disgust. We jumped, laughed, screamed, and occasionally grabbed onto each other’s arms in a death grip, trying to find comfort after what we had just seen. It himself was creepy enough.
A surprising element of the movie was its balance between horror and lightheartedness. The camaraderie between the kids was great, and their friendship and support of each other was admirable and applauded throughout the story. There was a good amount of humor and banter dispersed throughout the entire film; the theater erupted in laughter several times. I really enjoyed this element because the light scenes immediately followed an intense scene, so the entire movie wasn’t one scare after another. It also touched on very real and relevant issues in society, such as bullying and abuse. For me, these scenes were the hardest to watch because the issues were so deep and the characters were heavily impacted by them. Overall, “IT” wasn’t a typical horror film that feels dark and demonic. There was substance, likable characters and fun combined with typical horror movie elements.
Near the end of the movie, however, I was running out of patience. Two hours and 15 minutes isn’t that long of a run time, yet it felt long in this movie. Some of the scenes seemed like they dragged on or weren’t necessary to advancing the plot, and I found myself thinking, “Surely this movie is going to be over soon” when in reality, there were probably 40 minutes left.
To say I loved this movie would be an overstatement, and to say I hated it would be an exaggeration, so I’ll say I was pleasantly surprised by it. My expecations, although they were small, were blown away, and I surprised myself by not regretting going to see it. Would I see it again? Probably not. Would I recommend it to others? Yes.
If you like scary movies, aren’t bothered by them, or just want an adrenaline rush, you’ll probably enjoy this movie.
Chelsea Tyler is a senior English and communication studies double major. This article reflects the view of the author only.