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The Subterranean: ‘It’ has more sound shock than jump scares

Review of It

*** out of five stars

Currently in wide theatrical release 


“It’s easier for me to go into that (haunted) house then it is for me to go into my own home.”


by Walter G. Tarrow

Post-Jason/Michael/Freddie scares where seeing is not necessarily a better way. But it’s still interesting to watch.

After the well executed opening sequence, I opted out of the predictable, pedestrian scare fest in search of the viscera of King’s tale and one of his ubiquitous themes, that of kids bonding over horror.

Bill and crew face very human, not supernatural, abuse from the adults and other children in their lives. For me, the scariest moments were those moments of real fear, of real pain.  Especially Beverly’s tale.

It, as Pennywise the Clown, lives on that fear, which makes that which is real even more real. And that I found the most intriguing.

All the kids give worthy performances with Beverly, Bill and Ben, rightfully so being the romantic triangle that they are, at the heart of the movie.

There are some creative scares and the effects suffice. Obviously Pennywise the clown is iconically evil and Bill Skarsgård plays him with wicked menace. And he pops out, both figuratively and literally, of his Jack-in-the-box regularly enough for us to get our fill. But jump scares alone do not a scary movie make.

Which brings me to the sound. Several years back I saw a short horror parody (the title escapes me and I’d appreciate any help in finding the film again) wherein a woman was preparing a typical meal in her kitchen. By adding the usual scary movie score and editing the film as such, a mundane event became a horror short.

The movie relies much too heavily upon the sound shock as a stand-in for the jump scare. As with the jump scare, too much of a good thing isn’t good. Sound shocks alone can’t replace the full sensory impact of a well crafted scare. The best scares take their time and understand the patient nature of true fear and horror.

It, the movie, reminds me of my trips to the circus. Some fun was had. There were thrills. Better than a Sunday afternoon at Aunt Bernice’s. But I never was that excited about the clowns. Guess it’s a Euro thing.

By the way, its R rating is for the barrage of F-bombs. The language is much more graphic, with a few exceptions, than the horror.

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