How god awful of a parent are you where the kid is so dumb he thinks talking to a clown in a sewer is a good idea?
Come to think of it, just about every adult is evil in this film. A kid-eating clown doesn’t seem too bad when everybody else in this town is a prick. Some of these parents abuse and shelter their kids, so it’s not too surprising that they end up as outcasts. The kids are the quiet and awkward ones that have fun with each other, but were neglected and bullied by their peers. They feel alone at school and at home. So, time to make a new friend!
Meet Pennywise! He loves balloons and Johnny Depp makeup and laughter and dancing! Once you get past his eating habits and the terrifying, mind-warping daydreams, what’s not to love? Well, the kids find a lot to hate in their new bestie. A war between “The Losers Club” and Pennywise the Dancing Clown begins, and it’s probably the best thrill audiences will find at the movie theater this weekend.
Bill Skarsgård — the brother of the actor who played Will Turner’s dad in Pirates of the Caribbean, which makes the clown Orlando Bloom’s uncle in some amazing alternate universe — brings the menace and a rough, high-pitch as the titular character. There’s no Tim Curry flopping around, this clown’s smile has the potential to haunt your dreams.
It’s not as scary as it sounds unfortunately. It operates much better as a thriller than a horror movie. The occasional jump scare may shock, but even those are sometimes spotted a mile away. The ending even delves into quick-edit, action-y territory for a hot minute during one of the finale’s most heated scenes.
The clown may not be as menacing as the smile suggests in those moments, but the frequent use of the character and his supernatural abilities made the movie consistently exciting. I could watch these lovable losers try to murder a clown forever. Where Seth Green as the annoying comedian kid had me praying for his demise in the previous adaption of Stephen King’s novel, the Stranger Things kid had me trying to hide my laughter at his dirty jokes so the girl sitting next to me couldn’t hear (I failed).
It always feels mean to say that kids in movies are frequently annoying. Fantastic performances from young actors are always coming out, but a couple of times in something like Iron Man 3, Jurassic World or The Nice Guys I remember wishing the screen time went back to Ryan Gosling or a CGI dinosaur over a kid. With this movie, I’m bummed these kids won’t be in the sequel.
No, that’s not a spoiler, and yes, for the first time in my life, I’m excited for a horror movie sequel.