“It” is an instant cult classic for the ages… Not since 1985’s “The Breakfast Club” by John Hughes, have ordinary teenagers been so enjoyable and fascinating to watch.
Patrick King, REEL BRIEF
Leave it to a handful of big-screen newcomers to earn the highest recorded weekend box office tally ever for the month of September. Grossing over a projected $117 million in the United States during its debut week, “It” marked the largest opening weekend in September–doubling the earnings of the previous record holder, “Paranormal Activity 3” ($52.6M), in 2011. This new frightening killer clown tale, adapted from Stephen King’s classic novel, also earned the largest opening for a horror movie in filmmaking history and the third highest opening weekend this year, behind only “Beauty and the Beast” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”. Not bad for a film that took a modest $35 million to produce.
While horror films have always enjoyed a popularity and faithful fan following from a significant percentage of moviegoers, conventional wisdom has never pegged this film genre as one to compete to the levels of a drama or science-fiction thrillers. Throw in a killer clown (Bill Skarsgard) taking aim at children in a small U.S. town, and theaters should be abandoned for “It” show times. But they’re not. Instead, the creeper clown show with blood and guts is thriving! With the enormous record-breaking ticket sales and rave reviews, audiences have already bestowed “It” is an instant cult classic for the ages.
What makes “It” widely appealing is the banter and rapport of six teenagers facing tragedy and unpleasant circumstances as one. Awkward child-parent exchanges, a budding love triangle, school bullies picking on the weaker student body, and an unsettling father-daughter relationship all add fuel to an already volatile and violent clown rampage.
Mixed in between terrifying clown appearances are well-written one-liners and deeper insights into each teen’s unique character. As we learn more about these kids and their quirky personalities, there’s one role that remains a dark, deadly mystery: Pennywise the Clown.
Word of mouth reviews from satisfied theatergoers over the next few weeks will bolster this film’s already towering success. Is “It” scary? Yes, but only during a few key moments of the strong story-line. Overall, this movie is about teen relationships and how they interact with each other and their parents. The dialogue is a mesmerizing combination of crude talk and wholesome jests—but always feels real when delivered by the exceptional young cast.
With “It” slated as only the first look of a two-part series, we’ll have to wait until 2019 to see what the next chapter brings. As for this 2017 appetizer, be prepared to jump back in your seat…or at least avert your eyes at certain, uncomfortable times. But go see this film for the funny teenager moments and clever integration of fear and humor into the script. You won’t be alone, I promise you that. Plus, you’ll be able to keep up with the water-cooler talk everyone’s chatting about.
“It” is rated R for violence/horror, bloody images, and language. Its running time is 2 hours and 15 minutes.
© 2017, Patrick. All rights reserved.
"Patrick, you are my go-to guy when it comes to the box office". - Judy O.