Movie Review: 'It' transcends horror genre en route to box office success


With a massive $123.4 million opening weekend haul, “It” shattered the records for largest September opening, largest fall opening and largest R-rated horror film opening, and is already the fifth highest grossing R-rated horror film of all-time. “It” deserves all that money and the millions of more dollars that it will continue to make over the next few weeks sitting atop the box-office chart.

Directed by Andy Muschietti (“Mama”), the second live-action adaptation of the beloved Stephen King book about a cosmic entity that terrorizes kids by disguising itself as a clown is a near perfect movie in several respects. It sinks its teeth into you with its gripping horror and keeps you laughing, smiling and engaged with its excellent script and top-notch cast.

Horror movies are often made for $5 and a pack of gum and usually feel underdeveloped, relying heavily on jump scares, half-baked stories and paper-thin characters. That is not the case with “It.” It’s easy to see that everyone involved, from the Warner Bros. executives to the guys holding the mics, took this project seriously. The sound is solid, the pacing is good enough, the music is haunting and the acting and casting are both flawless. There are not enough good things I can say about “It.”

At its core, “It” is a coming-of-age story with a cast so relatable you will have flashbacks of your childhood no matter what era you grew up in. All seven members of the “loser’s club” are wonderfully written and never stay on screen for too long. The chemistry between the core members is fantastic and even the less-developed members have their moments. Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis and Jack Dylan Grazer all give great performances but Finn Wolfhard really steals the show as the comic relief, who perfectly expresses the audience’s reaction to the craziness when Pennywise, admirably portrayed by Bill Skarsgård (“Atomic Blonde,” “Simple Simon”), shows his haunting mug.

“It” is not overly scary and that may be a drawback for some. That’s not to say that there are no great scares but there are definitely more moments that are creepy and eerie rather than jump-out-of-your seat petrifying.

“It” transcends the horror genre and is a film that everyone should see. Do not let the fact that it is a horror film keep you away from the theater.

9/10


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BOX OFFICE REVIEW
1. “It”: $123,403,419 (Week 1); Warner Bros.
2. “Home Again”: $8,567,881    (Week 1); Open Road Films.
3. “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”: $4,801,745 (Week 4); Lionsgate. Total gross: $64,848,752.
4. “Annabelle: Creation”: $4,003,115 (Week 5); Warner Bros. Total gross: $96,270,125.
5. “Wind River”: $3,132,362 (Week 6); Weinstein Company. Total gross: $24,924,354.


COMING SOON
• “Mother!” — A couple's relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer

• “American Assassin” — A story centered on counterterrorism agent Mitch Rapp.
Director: Michael Cuesta
Cast: Dylan O'Brien, Michael Keaton, Sanaa Lathan, Taylor Kitsch

• “Brad’s Status” — A father takes his son to tour colleges on the East Coast and meets up with an old friend who makes him feel inferior about his life's choices.
Director: Mike White
Cast: Ben Stiller, Austin Abrams, Jenna Fischer, Michael Sheen

• “Rebel in the Rye” — The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, "The Catcher in the Rye."
Director: Danny Strong
Cast: Sarah Paulson, Zoey Deutch, Nicholas Hoult, Kevin Spacey

• “Because of Garcia” — Two high-school couples explore friendship and dating along dissimilar lines, leading to courage and transformation for one teen and a personal crisis for another.
Director:  Tom Simes
Cast: John Schneider, Masey McLain, Ben Davies, Chris Massoglia

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