A box-office smash: IT is officially the most successful horror film of all time. Stephen King, you must be proud.
This horror flick is a top grade remake, driven by a real feeling of dread and I kept thinking that Pennywise isn’t the only monster – the parents of the kids are awful too. It brilliantly creates that ’80s, small-town America vibe, with clown-ish scares and a group of adventurous kids at the centre. If you loved IT and fancy watching something similar, read on to find out my top recommendations.
A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
As usual, I lay out my lists in date order, so let’s start with A Nightmare on Elm Street. In my opinion, this is one of the greatest horror films ever and it has some similarities to IT. Although the sequels were arguably more responsible for making Freddy Krueger an iconic villain, the 1984 original is by far the best in the franchise.
This film has a group of teens being hunted by a supernatural being, but whereas Pennywise the child-killing clown in IT exists in reality, Freddy Krueger attacks his victims in their dreams. Both have useless adults, with parents who have a strained relationship with their kids. With its witty dialogue, small-town setting and “monster myth”, A Nightmare on Elm Street has a lot in common with IT.
Humour is central to the tone in IT, so if you enjoy horror-comedies, then you need to check out Zombieland. Jesse Eisenberg plays Columbus, a geeky college kid making his way through a zombie apocalypse, with the hope of finding his family. Along the way, he meets three strangers and they take a road trip across America to try and find a place free of zombies.
This addition to the zombie canon is hilarious, all the better for it. A sense of adventure courses through Zombieland, so it feels right to recommend it in relation to IT. Besides, in one scene, Columbus fights a zombie clown. Of course, Columbus would have no chance if he came up against Pennywise, but it just goes to show how movies love to play on people’s fear of clowns!
Super 8 (2011)
I know, Super 8 is not a horror film, but it is like a sci-fi version of IT. A group of young teenagers that includes one girl encounter an otherworldly monster after a train crashes while filming their own movie on a Super 8 camera. Set in 1979, danger lurking in a small town and the conflicts between kids and adults are important here.
The stakes are high in Super 8 as the whole town descends into chaos, as a result of the strange creature that has been unleashed. Strange events happen all over town: loads of people go missing, all dogs run away and there are constant power cuts. This is a well-acted sci-fi adventure with nostalgic elements and great visual effects. The best thing about it is the journey you go on with the kids.
Fright Night (2011)
Fright Night, a remake of the 1985 original is the definition of an entertaining movie. When I saw it, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. The plot is simple: A teenager (Anton Yelchin) discovers that his next-door neighbour Jerry (Colin Farrell) is actually a vampire. This results in a big, bloody battle between the two.
It’s similar to IT in the way that it has a monster that is extremely present, or in other words, hiding in plain sight. Jerry’s background is a mystery and he targets young people in the neighbourhood. It hasn’t got one scary moment in it, but Fright Night is sharp and funny – the perfect film to watch on a weekend.
It Follows (2014)
The genius of It Follows is that the monster is an unknown force that can only be seen by one person at a time. Jaimie (Maika Monroe) is the latest victim, who is followed by the entity after having sex. She soon learns that this strange being can appear as anything and it will keep following her until it leads to her death.
This is not a typical horror film that relies on jump scares. Instead, it uses soundtrack and atmosphere to create some really thrilling scenes. Whereas IT is an old-fashioned horror, It Follows has a unique tone, uses psychological terror and deals with a curse that is passed on through sex.
Teenagers, town setting and an unstoppable monster are the things it has in common with IT, but make sure you’re aware of their contrasting tones. I loved It Follows for being so different to modern horrors.
I think the last few years have seen some great horror films, which has dug the genre out of stagnation. IT isn’t just a box office hit, it’s a trend that many people have jumped on board with. So, if you’re thinking about what to watch next, these five films are a good place to start.
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