[By Kelly Kazek] With Halloween tricks and treats on store shelves and the leaves finally beginning to turn, many theatergoers are in the scary movie frame of mind. As the season continues, they will have plenty of horror films from which to choose, including lots of sequels such as the fourth installment of “Insidious,” “Cloverfield 3” and “Cult of Chucky.”
But two films released recently to lots of fanfare are not traditional horror flicks: “It” and “Mother!” Sure, “It” is plenty scary but it’s lots more. And “Mother,” well … what can I say about “Mother?” Plenty but I’ll have to keep it short if I don’t want to spoil it too much.
So which should you see?
Here are my recommendations:
- See “It” for a retro, fun and completely creepy film with lots of heart.
- See “Mother!” if you want to spend the next three days contemplating life and the universe and then feeling utterly defeated.
Short reviews without spoilers (although any horror fan knows how “It” ends):
Sweetums and I loved this film, which is not technically a remake because it was originally made into a TV miniseries based on Stephen King’s book. This film is its first theatrical release.
For those who are wondering: This film includes only the parts of the books focused on the children. Another film is planned for the second part of the book focused on the return of It 27 years later.
The seven main child actors for this film are so very talented and make the movie inordinately watchable. Their Losers Club personalities shine and the retro clothing – the setting is the late 1980s – add dimension. One of our favorites was Finn Wolfhard, who portrayed the talkative, world-wise Richie, because he also stars in one of our favorite TV shows, Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” I thought the young actor who played Beverly, Sophia Lillis, had an amazing screen presence, as did Jeremy Ray Taylor, who played Ben. I can’t wait to see who plays them as adults.
To try to prevent spoilers, I’ll tell you briefly some things to know about “It:”
Don’t go if you:
- Are terrified by mouths that open to reveal multiple rows of jagged teeth.
- Don’t like your creepy clowns to be able to move in freakish ways.
- Get sick at the sight of blood.
Go if you:
- Like your horror movies to have a great story and not just blood and gore.
- Enjoy movies with visceral rather than jump scares.
- Like to laugh – several times – during your horror films. Even belly laugh.
- Want fleshed-out characters.
About Pennywise: Sweetums liked the original portrayal by Tim Curry best but, as much as I love Tim Curry, I thought the new Pennywise was much creepier. He looked, talked and moved creepier. Plus, he lived in a classic (with the exception of what lurked there) tumbledown haunted house.
Tons is being written about this film-that-turned-out-not-to-be-a-horror-movie. After all, it stars big names, including Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris and Kristen Wiig (in a small but utterly horrifying role as a book publisher). The only problem is, to write about it requires major spoilers because it simply can’t be explained without lots and lots of analysis … and then still more discussion. Early reports likened the film to “Rosemary’s Baby.” It is nothing like “Rosemary’s Baby,” unless you consider any film with a pregnant woman as being like “Rosemary’s Baby.”
So to avoid spoilers and lots of discussion, I can only say:
Go if you:
- Enjoy repeating in your mind a couple of hundred times: “WTH?????”
- Like movies that begin like a creepy, if befuddling, thriller then veer into unknown territory.
- Like films that make you think about your place in the world.
- Want to spend the next three days contemplating life and the universe and then feeling utterly defeated.
Don’t go if you:
- Are disturbed by violence toward infants.
- Hate films with a message.
- Are expecting a horror movie.
Bottom line: Every movie lover, horror buff or not, should see “It.” Many people who see “Mother” will be disturbed and disappointed.