I love horror films but good horror films are rare and hard to find. So many of them are so formulaic that it’s almost like if you’ve seen one then you’ve seen them all. The scares are the generic, jump-scares that might work initially but have no long-term value. The characters are hollow and two-dimensional cut-outs with no depth.
It has the jump-scares like most other horror films but it executes them wonderfully. The film also does a great job of setting up the atmosphere as well as the somewhat dreary setting of the entire town. One of the best aspects of the film are the characters, those are beautifully realised.
It is a lot of fun to watch because it balances the scares with several laugh-out-loud moments. That elevates the film above the dull and often dour horror films that we are usually saddled with.
The film also makes sure that the kids are entirely on their own. The adults are either oblivious or not present. Some of the worst characters in the film are the adults, other parents. They are supposed to protect the children and far from that, they are the threats that the kids must stand up to on their own, whether it’s an overbearing bully of a mother, or an abusive father. They might not look as disturbing as Pennywise, but they were just as horrible.
The casting of the kids was great and they all worked so well together. It was easy to believe that they quickly formed a bond and stuck together even when they were terrified. I also loved that the only girl in the group, Bev, was not treated any differently than the boys and she was just as brave as the rest of the group. I loved that the film stayed away from the usual tropes and clichés associated with girls that one encounters in the films from this genre. That was a welcome relief. All the kids were amazing in the film and the film could not have been better cast.
Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise was brilliant. There were a number of scary elements in the film, but Pennywise the scariest among them. I would not like to meet Bill dressed as Pennywise on a quiet street. He did an amazing job.
If you liked Stranger Things, then this film is right up your alley