Lots of hype for this and lots of crushing disappointment at recent horror flicks had set my expectations high. And it took about 6 minutes for the hype to be fully lived up to!!!!
After a cracking opening scene (young girl chased by......something unseen, before it not ending well in a deliciously hideous way), our heroine is putting on her make up in preparation for a date. The camera is lingering (not in a pervy way) and the amazing score kicks in and that was it. How much I loved this film is probably down to the wonderful score and the tone it sets, in conjunction with some excellent camera work. The early Carpenter comparisons are justified but there's so much more going on in the way of influences - the score during the make up scene was more Vangelis then Carpenter (lush, ethereal keyboards), while those Carpenter influences (Halloween/Thing/EFNY Carpenter!) can be seen directly in the camera move during the visit to the high school (a full 360 degree sweep setting scenes and picking up small detail at the edge of the frame)......so many more of these lovely little flourishes made this a joy to watch.
Ok so it's tone got me, but I loved the whole set up too. There was a cleverness to the writing and setting up of rock solid rules that made the flick feel 'real' - who can see the 'it', the guy living across the street, all made perfect sense in setting up a cracking set piece......no spoilers so skirting round it here! - and showed real thought had been put into the mythology. It's not 100% perfect mind - does 'it' have physical form? Is it real but just invisible? Where does it always start/come from? Why doesn't it ever catch up to people when they're asleep? BUT, a lot of these things going unanswered kind of feeds into the mythos again - no-one knows where this curse has come from, where it originated from, so it's fitting that there are a lot of unanswered questions. A lot has been made of the teens being more than just selfish, objectified cannon fodder and they are a thoroughly decent bunch. It's certainly creepy - not scary, but seeing these apparitions just appear, sometimes jumping into frame, sometimes, just hanging around, sometimes you're not even sure what you've seen IS the 'it'.......it was a great mythology for me and the ending was thoroughly in keeping with both its influences and its own mythos. I really, really liked this, not as a horror film, but more as a creepy ode to a long forgotten time. And oh my that score........ruddy marvellous!!!!!
The transfer is sublime. Picture quality was immaculate - huge detail, deep blacks, a lovely colour palette reminiscent of Haddonfield, it was gorgeous. And the lossless 5.1 track handled that score with aplomb - on a number of occasions I thought my speakers were ratting, but it was the score itself!!! Coupled with the throbbing themes, there were some lovely atonal sounds that reminded me of Jerry Goldsmiths work on the Alien score. And it sounded marvellous. Extras were a real let down - a 4 min puff piece on the composer which said nothing and a gallery of the posters. Pants.
Summary - I loved this. Lots of influences worn clearly on its sleeve, but with influences Iike these, I was sold, hook, line and sinker. Not scary, but thoroughly creepy. And can I mention that soundtrack again?