“It” stars Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, and Finn Wolfhard. Released on September 8, 2017, the film is about a group of outcasts who must confront an evil entity that is responsible for the disappearance of dozens of children.
The film is directed by Andrés Muschietti, who is known for directing Mama. It is based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Stephen King. Boy, am I going to have a lot of fun reviewing this film…. The box office intake for last weekend hit a pretty big slump compared to the previous years, mostly due to the lack of new films. But with the amount of hype surrounding this latest Stephen King adaptation, it will surely turn things around faster than you can say “scary clown”. Now, this isn’t the only adaptation of King’s popular novel. Back in 1990, ABC aired a two-night miniseries of the same name that stared Tim Curry as the terrifying clown, which was met with successful ratings and positive reviews. While I have no history of “It”, I have heard about how scary the source material is from my mother. Now that I’m finally viewing it for the first time, it’s time for me to see if it’s as frightening as people say it was.
If you’re familiar with the 1990 adaptation of “It”, you will have no problems with the story in the new version. If not, then don’t worry, it’s pretty straight-forward. While the film is best described as a typical horror film with a dash of “Goonies”, it’s more along the lines of a coming of age tale about a group of young outsiders who are plagued by life problems and more importantly, their personal demons. For this film, it’s all about the balance between scaring the audience and making them care for the characters, which can be pretty tough to pull off, especially when you’re adapting one of King’s most popular novels in his career. As a guy who hasn’t seen the 1990 version of “It”, I was generally surprised that Muschietti was able to find that type of balance to create a respectable adaptation of the novel. Even though it didn’t scare me a lot (save for a couple of scenes), I had a lot of fun watching it. One of the things that made it work was the main cast. Ranging from Lieberher as Bill the leader to Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard as foul-mouthed Richie, this group of young actors provided enough depth within their characters to make me feel what they’re feeling. They also delivered some very effective chemistry with one another and offered plenty of big laughs without losing the tone that it was going for, so big points for them. Bill Skarsgård, in my opinion, was absolutely fantastic as the evil Pennywise The Dancing Clown. If you think that Tim Curry’s portrayal as Pennywise was terrifying, just wait until you see Skarsgård’s portrayal. He really brought this character to life in terms of his acting and the design. Even the visual effects helped raise the amount of terror that the clown provided, although there was this one sequence where I found the CGI a bit noticeable. Like any other horror film, this one has plenty of jump scares, but they work really well with some pretty disturbing content, especially Pennywise. It’s hard for me to tell whether or not these disturbing scenes will haunt me in my sleep, but I can tell you this. This is a really freaky movie. A two-and-a-half hour long fright fest that will cause very young kids to wet themselves, and Muschietti did a solid job at delivering that kind of fright fest, while also providing a well-crafted story about friendship and facing one’s personal fears. I also thought the cinematography was well-effective in capturing the film’s atmosphere and tone.
Overall, its running time might be a bit much for those who aren’t fond of horror movies, but “It” offers a near-perfect balance between horror, fun, and heart to reverse the trend of poorly-received Stephen King adaptations. Thanks to its strong cast, solid characters, some well-effective scares, and its relatable themes, this is the type of mainstream horror film that has the right ingredients to keep itself from floating towards the negative zone. Like I said before, I had a really fun time watching this film despite the fact that it’s a horror film about a clown who kills children. If you’re a fan of the novel and enjoyed the 1990 version, I believe that you’re going to like this version as well. But if you’re still afraid of clowns, then don’t bother with this one. Also, and I am saying this as a regular person, do not, I repeat, do not bring your young kids to this movie. I’m serious. Don’t do it.