If you’ve been missing the Addams Family, you will absolutely love It (2017), the new franchise spin-off that also doubles as the kick-off entry to the rebooted Addams Cinematic Universe (ACU). It (2017) is an entertaining melange of macabre comedy and gothic horror that depicts the origin story of Cousin It.
For newcomers to the Addams Family franchise, Cousin It is a short being whose entire body is surrounded by a thick draping of beautiful golden hair. Over the front of this draping, It wears a pair of dark sunglasses. On top of the draping, It often dons a brown bowler derby hat or a dark velvet beret.
Cousin It has long been considered the most enigmatic member of the Addams Family, so it’s no surprise that Guillermo del Toro chose to tackle the character first as part of his long term commitment to shepherd the ACU from now until his death several decades in the future.
Del Toro’s obsession with the eery and unfamiliar has been well-documented, and Cousin It is a perfect vehicle for his Lovecraftian impulses as a storyteller. The movie opens in a world of subterranean tunnels where Cousin It was born to the branch of the Addams Family that is entirely felted with hair.
The hairy burrowing vole beings have strange customs and beliefs, but before long they notice young It’s distinguishing sense of fashion and unusual taste for sunlight. It’s unclear whether they want to banish or reward It for being so different, but in any case the vole beings send It off to live with Professor Doctor Fester.
Professor Doctor Fester is of course Uncle Fester before an unfortunate lawn bowling accident left him bereft of his wits and ambition. (I’m sure we’ll find out more about what happened in Fester’s Follies, due out this Christmas.) Fester takes Cousin It under his wing, and they set off on all kinds of wacky adventures together.
I would describe the rest of the movie as just a straight up buddy comedy, except Fester and It encounter such creepy and unsettling creatures along their merry way. That’s unlike any other buddy comedy I’ve ever seen. Except for Men in Black. So it’s sort of like Men in Black, I guess.
TL;DR – Another Guillermo del Toro classic featuring more creepies and crawlies than you can shake a stick at, It (2017) is also a promising restart to the venerable Addams Family franchise.
What the rest of the critics are saying:
“Once the creepy hairy vole beings make their exit, it’s bedtime for bonzo!” – Bethpage Ballpark, Salon.com
“It (2017) is like the Iron Man (2008) of gothic comedies.” – Benedict Seal, Bloody Disgusting
“Guillermo del Toro’s unerring sense of the macabre serves the material well.” – Troni Uwchlan, New Orleans Times-Picayune
“It’s awful nice that they gave MC Hammer a cameo.” – Epock Tines, The Baffler
“Cousin It is back, baby! And he’s better than ever. Or she’s better than ever? They’re better than ever? I’m really not sure about the gender of this one.” – Eric D. Snider, EricDSnider.com
“Here’s hoping Fester’s Follies will offer us something a little more substantial.” – Legs Lavish, New York Observer
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