Tag Archives: Film Review

Suspense Saturday: It (2017)

 

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Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise

Suspense Saturday: It (2017)

Three times I have sat in a movie theatre, laughing and jumping with each joke and scare. A horror movie fan since a young age I have devoured several of them, old and new, gore and psychological over the course of my young life. Some I have watched for therapeutic reasons, some to be entertained and others for the story. It (2017) manages to fall into all of those categories for me. With a coming of age story at its helm, the deaths of bully’s and the talent it took to make this film, It surpasses many other horror films and as it ages it will be deemed a classic of the genre.

When it comes around to purchasing the film I will probably watch the film several more times before I become bored of it. Only then will I wait to watch it again when the novelty wears off and I will revisit it like returning to an old friend.

As someone who has not read the complete novel but has read about the story and engaged in several conversations about, It, I will say that I believe the film is a worthy adaptation of the source material. However, my opinion is based solely as a viewer.

I saw the original film/miniseries a few times in the past but despite my love of Tim Curry I do prefer Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise and find this adaptation far superior. With a talented cast, a great script and wonderful effects it is no wonder that It has surpassed the half-a-million mark at the box office. It has also surpassed The Exorcist as the highest grossing horror film of all time.

 

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Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, and Wyatt Oleff as Stanley

 

Opening to critical acclaim and making box office records, It, is far more than a horror movie. A coming-of-age tale about a group of outsiders that come together to face their biggest fears and save the town, It turns children into superheroes.

No matter how old you get the children of the story are the ones you will relate to. We all are or have been children and far too often we forgot what it was like to be young. Consistently silenced, talked over and dealing with peoples refusal to listen, children are smart and observant but as we get older we forget to listen. As adults, we deal with many of the same issues. We are silenced, talked over and people refuse to listen to us. No matter how old you get the children of the story are and will remain the most relatable aspect of any story and It, showcases that incredibly well.

You might not expect to laugh your laurels off while watching a movie about a mysterious entity that takes the form of a clown (or maybe you do) but It, brings the laughs. With a young and talented cast, It has many memorable¬†lines and moments that are sure to put a smile on your face. The relationships between these children as they deal with what it means to be a “loser”, as they go on misadventures and face death head-on grows. The kids also show a lot of personal growth as they face Pennywise and their very personal issues at home.

Female sexuality (especially in young girls) is a difficult topic to deal with in a film. It is a difficult topic to bring up in any form mainly due to the continued over-sexualization of young girls and women. It has come to be something dirty and when we face it head on it is considered something even worse. While we have no problem portraying the evolving sexuality of males at any age, sexuality in women seems to be a subject that cultures spanning far and wide have difficulty embracing. In certain corners of the world, we are evolving to show stronger women who are embracing their sexuality and we are unafraid to show it. In It, Beverly Marsh is a young girl afraid of her own sexuality and what it means to be women. Afraid of walking into her own home, Beverly is her daddy’s “girl” and every time we see her with him an uncomfortable feeling washes over you. The victim of her father’s perversion and the cruelty of the kids at school, Beverly has a reputation in the town of Derry, Maine for being a slut. Bev doesn’t just lay there and take it, she is a kind girl who befriends new kid Ben and later helps the boys retrieve supplies to clean and bandage a wound. As she faces Pennywise, Beverly also faces her father and her impending womanhood.

It (2017) is a film that might surprise you. The films greatest strength (and it has many) is the kids that make up the cast. They have great chemistry, play well off each other and it appears that they are having fun. That stands out on screen and the film is made that much more enjoyable because of it. Bill’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown will send shivers down your spine as he salivates at the children’s fear. A well-written cinematic adventure, It, is sure to be on our minds for years to come.

Netflix Pick of the Week: Scream

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Released in 1996

Since I’ve been on a Wes Craven kick I’ve decided to choose this nineties gem and Kevin Williamson written slasher starring Neve Campbell, Courtney Cox, and David Arquette, Skeet Ulrich, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and Drew Barrymore as my Netflix Pick of the Week. A standout picture that has now become cliche due to the saturated market of teen horror that has tried to imitate it, Scream is a great movie born out of a clever script.

Self aware and witty, this nineties slasher knew what it was doing. Scream is more than your typical horror film, while playing with some of the rules set in to motion before slasher scripts were a thing, Scream found its own way in to the heads of its audience. While there are certain things you may question (check out cinema sins Everything Wrong with Scream) the good far out ways the bad. An enjoyable movie that I return to at least once a year, Scream is a classic thanks to great direction by Craven and a fun script by Williamson.

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The cast of characters are far more complex than the characters of this films predecessors. Randy, played by Jamie Kennedy, is the know-it all film buff. He is the odd one out in a group of friends including final girl, Sidney Prescott, who is still reeling from mother’s murder one year prior to the events of the film. Her boyfriend Billy Loomis, with his perfect teen heartthrob hair, is the brooding type while his best friend Stu is the goofball. Tatum is the best friend and the perfect foil to her good girl friend, Sidney. Apart from the high school students is Dewey, a sheriff and brother to Tatum, and Gale Weathers, a reporter who believes Sidney was wrong about the man she accused of killing her mother. There is also a special appearance by Henry Wrinkler as the Principle and a cameo by Director Wes Craven who appears as a Janitor that looks suspiciously like Freddy Kruger.

The film is brutal but not gory. Funny and is dramatic without becoming overly cheesy. There are many ways this film could have gone wrong but while refusing to take itself seriously, Scream is able to standout in a difficult genre.

Checkout MTV’s Scream, on Netflix, A Nightmare on Elm Street and New Nightmare by Director Wes Craven are on Netflix and The Vampire Diaries and The Following created by Kevin Williams are also available on the streaming website.

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Film Noir Friday: Too Late for Tears

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Lizabeth Scott as Jane Palmer

Too Late for Tears was originally released in 1949 starring Lizabeth Scott, Don DeFore, Dan Duryea, Arthur Kennedy and Kristine Miller. The film was Directed by Byron Haskin, written by Roy Huggins and adapted from a serial by Roy Huggins. In the public domain, Too Late for Tears is available to watch on YouTube in pristine condition. An original print was found in France and restored at UCLA. This edition premiered on TCM on July 17, 2015.

After a bag of cash is thrown into their backseat by mistake a husband and wife disagree on what to do with it. Alan Palmer, played by Arthur Kennedy wants to turn it in. His wife Jane, played by Lizabeth Scott, wants to keep the money. Things soon go south for her when she meets Danny Fuller (Dan Duryea) who claims the money is his. Jane tries desperately to keep the money, going so far as to kill her own husband and bring Fuller into it. As she grows more ruthless, Jane’s sister in law Kathy (Kristine Miller) becomes suspicious of her so she calls in a man from his past.

Too Late for Tears showcases the perfect example of a Femme Fatale. A beautiful women who pulls the strings even as the anti-hero attempts to gain control. Much like the better known Femme Fatale’s like Barbara Stanwyck’s turn as Phyllis Dietrichson in Double Indemnity, Jane Palmer seduces a man into helping her get away with the murder of her husband. While Stanwyck’s role as Phyllis was straight up seduction, things for Jane are a little different. There was no original plan for her to do this but she was sick of the mundane life she was leading. Being a house wife was not for her so when given the opportunity to change her life she went for it. She was willing to risk her life and things resulted in murder just so she could hold onto it. Beneath the wide eyed innocence that she seems to pull off so perfectly is a killer who’s main goal is to grab a huge chunk out of life damn the consequences.

When a film is found or restored I will always recommend it. Especially if that film is good or at least interesting. Too Late for Tears is one of my new favorite films of the genre. The main focus is on the female protagonist and while there are big male roles in the film it is the woman that does most of the dirty work. Film Noir has always been one of my favorites due to the complexity of the female characters and this film is no exception. It gives us a character that appears innocent and thirsty for adventure on the surface but beneath it all she is thirsty for a lot more. She shows weakness, strength and a vigorous need to fight back. That vigor however will be her end.

 

You’re Next

You’re Next is an American independent slasher film and home invasion thriller initially released in 2011. The film centers around a family after they reunite at their vacation home to celebrate their parents anniversary. They are soon the victims to what seem like a random attack by three unknown assailants. Unbeknownst to the family and their attackers Crispian’s girlfriend has a lot of skill when it comes to protecting herself and others. She soon takes charge and begins to beat the attackers at there own game.

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I first heard of this film while listening to my pandora station. I was not intrigues because I thought “Wow another one, really?” Then something inside changed. I wanted to see it. So I downloaded it, watching it and fell in love with it. You’re Next is not the self-aware films that made Scream popular but there are several moments you may find yourself laughing. The family angst makes this film even more enjoyable. The solution isn’t the most obvious but if you often watch horror films, mysteries or crime drama’s you will find yourself asking all the right questions.

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I recently purchased the Blue-Ray+DVD+Digital HD copy from Target. I found it on sale and couldn’t resist. It was apart of my first ever haul video.

Special Features

  • The Making of You’re Next
  • Audio Commentary
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Blue-Ray Features
Blue-Ray Features

I enjoyed watching The Making of You’re Next. It included interviews with the cast and crew and showed several behind the scene moments. I enjoyed seeing the way effects where done. I wish the segment was longer and had more detail. I know however that this is an independent film so I will give them some leeway for that.

I recommend You’re Next and the edition I mentioned above. You can find the link to the exact copy on my side bar. Please feel free to comment and check out my haul.

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