“I want to run towards something, not away.”Beverly Marsh
A surprisingly enjoyable (rather than scary) experience, It is filled with a series of beautifully shot and creatively weird scenes, having more in common with Stranger Things‘ blend of nostalgia and the supernatural than most contemporary horror. Jump scares are few and far between, in favour of steadily building atmosphere. Where modern horror tends to focus on individual isolation (a reflection of current anxieties), It is told from the perspective of the Losers Club, a group of unpopular adolescent outsiders. Disquiet arises through the group’s collective isolation from the community and particularly the adults in their lives. Like much of Stephen King’s work, It explores the loss of innocence and the murky underbelly of small town American communities. The film is slightly too long for its content (a cinematic streamlining of the book’s first half) and splashing through identical sewers becomes repetitive. Despite the recently released sequel, this first chapter feels complete if not always cohesive — perhaps due to its extended gestation period under multiple directors — and its most striking imagery will certainly linger in the mind.