(US - 2019)
Directed by Andy Muschietti. Written by Gary Dauberman. Cast: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Bill Skarsgard, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, Andy Bean, Jaeden Martell, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Teach Grant, Nicholas Hamilton, Javier Botet, Xavier Dolan, Jess Weixler, Taylor Frey, Molly Atkinson, Joan Gregson, Will Beinbrink, Stephen King, Peter Bogdanovich, Stephen Bogaert, Luke Roessler, Jackson Robert Scott, Ryan Kiera Armstrong, Joe Bostick, Megan Charpentier, Juno Rinaldi, Owen Teague, Jake Sim. (R, 169 mins)
A blockbuster hit that currently stands as the highest-grossing horror film of all time (by present-day dollars and not by ticket sales or adjustment for inflation), 2017's IT, an adaptation of the first half of Stephen King's gargantuan 1986 novel, ushered in an era of renewed interest in the legendary author's work. This includes the Netflix films GERALD'S GAME and 1922, this year's remake of PET SEMATARY, this fall's DOCTOR SLEEP, a sequel to both King's novel The Shining and Stanley Kubrick's 1980 film version, which King has spent nearly 40 years criticizing, and several other announced film and TV projects in various states of development or production. Every generation has their genre touchstones, and IT--in many ways a hard-R GOONIES--has become a gateway film for impressionable young horror fans. Every generation's gateway is different, and just as aging purists who cut their teeth on Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi dismissed the blood and guts horror that gained traction in the 1970s, it's easy to for us jaded cynics now in our 40s to take a shit all over whatever it is "the kids" are into and inevitably sound all Old Man Yells at Cloud. I liked IT--it didn't blow me away, but I can see where a 13-year-old might consider it a watershed moment that hopefully leads to further exploration. IT was entertaining but it relied heavily on the now-overused trope of "scary clowns" as well as the crutch of nostalgia, especially by updating the setting of the childhood section of the novel from 1958 to 1989. Of course this also meant recurring invocations of everything 1989, from BATMAN to LETHAL WEAPON 2 to A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5, and a running gag about New Kids on the Block. This retro fetishizing of everything '80s (all that's missing is a John Carpenter-esque synth score) is representative of the move in horror toward The Reference--the AMERICAN HORROR STORY/STRANGER THINGSification of the genre, if you will. And returning director Andy Muschietti and screenwriter Gary Dauberman push that even further in IT: CHAPTER TWO.
"Angel of the Morning," I was pretty much over this chapter of IT.