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IT Review: A good movie I'll never see

Posted September 8

This image released by Warner Bros. Pictures shows Bill Skarsgard in a scene from "It." (Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

— I am unashamed of the fact that I am a huge wuss. I do not like horror movies. If you ask me why in a public setting, I’ll tell you it’s because they're all dumb and they're all the same. In reality, horror movies give me nightmares.

Slasher movies don’t bother me. I know what would happen in that situation. I would be stabbed. The lights would go out. That’s it. The supernatural stuff though - that stuff terrifies me, because I don’t know what happens when a demon clown eats you.

This is a long way of telling you there was no way in Hell I was going to see It, the film adaptation of the television adaptation of Stephen King’s novel about a demon clown that eats children. All I needed to see was one trailer where that clown floated towards a child with his fangs bared and his claws out to loudly say “no sir!”

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So, I sent my wife, because who cares if she is eaten by a demon, right?

No, in all seriousness, my wife Sally and I are the human embodiments of the phrase “opposites attract.” She was the valedictorian of her high school class and her med school class. I barely graduated. She is shy. I have spent the majority of my professional life performing. Things that go bump in the night scare me. She fears nothing in that realm.

So, here is a little Q & A I conducted with her after the movie.

DEMETRI: So was It scary?

SALLY: It scared the s*** out of me!

D: Baby, this is WRAL. You can’t say that.

S: Oh. Then just say it was a good old fashioned scary movie.

D: Eww.

S: What?

D: That sounds like a review from People magazine.

S: I like People Magazine.

D: So what scared you the most?

S: Well, the first scene of the movie is It trying to eat a kid that looks just like our son.

D: Would it have been scary otherwise? I mean like if you weren’t reminded of Aaron when you looked at that kid, would it scare you?

S: Yeah, I think so. It’s still a clown in a sewer.

D: Do you think people are really scared of clowns?

S: I was scared of Pennywise (the clown in It).

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D: I’m not talking about Pennywise. I’m talking about in general. You’re a doctor. When someone tells you they're afraid of clowns, do you believe them?

S: I guess so. What does this have to do with IT?

D: Do you read my reviews?

S: Usually

D: Okay, then you know how this works. My mind wanders. So, do you think there are people that are really scared of clowns? Because I don’t. I think it’s something that people say to seem interesting.

S: What’s interesting about that?

D: Exactly.

[long silence]

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D: So the look of It. It seems very nostalgia-y.

S: It takes place in the 80s. One of the kids has a New Kids on the Block poster.

D: Right. I figured it took place in the 80s. Do you think that is because that’s when the novel takes place or do you think that is because Stranger Things was so popular?

S: Hmmm…I hadn’t thought about that but that makes a lot of sense. The look isn’t the same, but there are a lot of “remember this!” kind of moments in the movie. There are these scenes with all the missing kids floating in a different world. Now that you put Stranger Things in my head, those scenes did look like Will in the upside down.

D: I didn’t love Stranger Things. I mean, the craft was awesome. The story was just so-so.

S: I know. You bring up Stranger Things to strangers just so you can tell them you didn’t like it.

D: Someone needs to tell them.

S: Aren’t we talking about It?

D: So what else stood out in the movie?

S: There’s this pudgy dork with glasses. He’s funny.

D: Want to expand on that?

S: He made me think of you.

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D: Is that good?

S: I don’t know. It was what it was.

D: That sounds like how you would admit to an affair.

S: God you’re weird.

D: So what did you think about Bill Skårsgard as Pennywise?

S: Yeah, who is he? He was really good.

D: You haven’t seen anything he’s been in. He is Stellan Skårsgard’s kid.

S: Who is that?

D: The math professor in Good Will Hunting.

S: Oh. He was in Mama Mia!

D: So why was Lil’ Bill so good as Pennywise?

S: He is like really scary. That character is so gross and he just leans into it. It’s fun in a really creepy way.

D: Okay. So you liked It?

S: Yeah.

D: Do you think people are really afraid of clowns?

S: I’m sure someone is.

D: I don’t believe that.

S: Then why did you ask?


Demetri Ravanos is a member of the North Carolina Film Critics Association and has reviewed movies for Raleigh and Company, Military1.com and The Alan Kabel Radio Network.

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