God, I told myself I wouldn’t watch this film.
I generally don’t do horror movies. I don’t like feeling startled (not scared, startled), and I find most horror movies today relish in blood and gore instead of trying to make you feel scared. I typically don’t like jump scares since all they really do is startle you, not scare you. This in turn actually tends to hurt movies because since your heart is racing ahead of time during a jump scare, the next few parts that are supposed to be more terrifying aren’t that scary because you’re still coming down from the previous scare.
Enter It. A movie adaptation of a book that gave me nightmares belonging to a genre that I don’t go out of my way to watch. So, why did I like this It so much?
By all accounts, a great majority of the film is jump scare after jump scare. We follow a group of kids who are battling a clown-creature known only as Pennywise the Clown, the titular It. Before they can do battle, however, they each have to experience being terrified and hunted by It in their own way. What tends to follow is a one kid getting terrified by It, followed immediately by another kid getting terrified by It and then a few minutes of character development and then back to terrifying the next kid in line. It got to the point where, as I mentioned before, I was starting to feel numb to the scares. Don’t get me wrong, they are absolutely terrifying, but as I got used to the movie, I got used to the scares and they stopped scaring me so much.
Perhaps this was intentional in order for we the audience can follow the growth of the kids who learn to master their own fears. Ultimately, the main reason I liked this movie so much was the bond these kids have with each other. They are each played wonderfully and play off each other realistically. Each have their own story arc that the movie spends equal amounts of time with so that we know and care about these characters.
It is absolutely a horror movie; but, it’s a horror movie with a heart, something at it’s core that it’s actually about. And I think that is why I liked It so much.