Time to catch up on some of the stuff I should have written about when I was taking a break from this blog.
You already know the story: a group of kids—The Losers’ Club—descend into the sewers in search of a missing boy. What they find is a clown that’s anything but funny. I find the clown a lot creepier in theory than in execution, but I genuinely like clowns so maybe that’s a personal problem.
IT looks great and it rarely bores, but I almost get the feeling it thinks it’s better than what it really is: a monster movie. Don’t get me wrong, I went for pulp and I certainly got it, but then there’s oddly placed pieces of character development—or under-development; it’s obvious the stuff from the book wasn’t designed for a brisk two-hour movie, and there are so many characters you couldn’t possibly spend enough time with all of them, so it feels a little weird to see it all truncated. I don’t think IT is a great movie as is, but if another hour of it ever shows up in a director’s cut some day, it very well could be great.
Early on, it’s established that one of the kids freezes up when it comes to slaughtering lambs at his job. You think this is setting up important character information, but it turns out it’s merely setting up the cattle-gun itself, which the kid will eventually use for protection. The town bullies, too, sort of feel like an awkward detail now; The Losers’ Club wouldn’t exist without ’em, but the resolution of the subplot seemed utterly rushed and ultimately pointless to me.
I usually love stuff like this, but this time I’m left feeling a little underwhelmed. Decent horror movie with great performances, but I think I need to see it again when the sequel comes out.
Life stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, and Ryan Reynolds as astronauts who intercept an extraterrestrial sample on the International Space Station. This is no spoiler, though it takes too long for the movie to get to it: the biological sample rapidly evolves and begins killing them one by one. In a matter of days, it’s smart enough to understand the inner workings of the ISS and forms a plan to reach Earth.Okay.
I like this movie on paper, but it’s a little too obvious about what it’s trying to do. It’s nice to see astronauts appropriately reacting to their amazing surroundings with awe (an oversight in Alien Covenant), but these heavy-handed scenes drag on. In one scene the crew is having dinner in a scene that’s reminiscent of the original Alien, but it’s lifeless and unbelievable. I’m not sure the cast was firing on all cylinders.
I think there’s a fun story here, it just isn’t executed particularly well, and I’m getting a little bored with “rapidly evolving” monsters. (2009’s Splice handled this trope much better, and you can read that review here.) Life’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a good one, either. Like Alien Covenant, the ending’s the best part because it doesn’t want to reassure us that everything’s a-okay in the world.
Still, I’m glad we’re getting movies like these in theaters. I think it’s a good sign for the future of horror. It’s been a long time since mainstream movies had any bite.