It ★★½

In 1973, The Exorcist came out and it was one of the first films to use subliminal messaging as a device to create fear. An exercise in subtlety, cutting images of a demonic face in, color matching green grass from shots of children playing to the color of Regan's vomit. Little things, building, to make you feel wrong before the horror really sets in. 

In 2013 me and my friend Alex went to a closed captioned matinee of Mama in New Jersey. After watching little feral girls eating cherries for five minutes in the opening credits, a man searching for the girls discovers a pile of stones, dramatically holds one in front of his face, and addressing no one but the audience, three words came on screen. "It's cherry pits." We fucking know it's cherry pits. Are you kidding me?

Where has the subtlety gone? There's no cleverness. It's all cherry pits now. 

The reason I became interested in Stephen King was a lack of understanding. There was a thread that tied every King adaptation together tonally that seemed so unbelievable to me, so I started trying to make sense of it and got hooked on the whole thing. At its worst, for me at least, it's this sentimental love of boyhood and the good old days. Nostalgia makes me grimace. Not that I never get nostalgic over things, but I don't long for the past. I hate the past. And this artificial nostalgia with this weird ideal Hollywood notion of what children are like is really unbearable to me. 

So I don't like these kids. I don't like the way they talk. I don't understand the goofy humor. I don't get the rock fight (do people like that?) And I'm mostly just infuriated that none of this seems to be building to anything. I guess they are becoming better friends? But it seems more focused on showcasing its cliches. It's so disposable, all of it. I actually want to read It now so I can figure out if there is a solid message about overcoming fear and growing up in this story, because everything in this movie is like cotton candy (circus cherry pits?) in that it's light and fluffy and melts into sugar and nothing. The real ideas seems like afterthoughts, to a New Kids On The Block joke. 

Pennywise was rad though. A lot of the horror sequences are kind of beautiful and surreal, and I'd much rather watch a movie of just that. And I'm calling bullshit on anyone doing the "why is there so much CGI" thing because it uses it well and with reason, to create a fluid monster that functions on nightmare logic. I just wish that this movie wasn't so heavy handed about everything. Pennywise mentions the circus and suddenly there's circus music in the audio mix, nice and loud. Be subtle and get under my skin. Make me feel there's something happening underneath this, something that could actually get me from thinking too hard about it. Make me dread it. (Actually the slideshow scene did get there for me, but I think that was the only time)

I just wish Pennywise ate those kids in the first 10 minutes and then we got a whole movie of him being a dancing clown. 

And was that Jewish kid just afraid of the art of Marc Chagall or something what was that?

Also where was Duddits

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