Director: Andy Muschietti
Running Time: 135 Minutes
This is for those of you who did not read the Stephen King novel or see the original Tim Curry mini-series by the same name, everyone else just bear with me.
The town of Derry seems to be plagued by some sort of evil. Both adults and children disappear at an alarming rate. What that evil is is hard to explain as it takes on so many different forms. A group of boys, known to their school mates as the Losers, befriend the town’s rumoured “easy” girl, the new kid, and the marginalised black kid who lives on a farm on the outskirts of town. Their bond as a group is reinforced by the seemingly endless and escalating bullying they received from the Sheriff’s maladjusted son, Henry (Nicholas Hamilton). Each of these kids is dealing with person turmoil or heartache but the disappearance of Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother Georgie before the start of summer, finds these friends on the hunt for clues for his whereabouts. They weren’t expecting to find It.
Performances & Special Effects
The casting is truly the strength of this film. Everyone of these kids was amazing but I do have my favourites. Richie (Finn Wolfhard) and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) had some of the best comedic one-liners in the entire script but it was their flawless and perfectly timed delivery of those lines that made them unforgettable. They are crass but jovial and all their insults were entirely without sting but often exactly what the film needed to break tension and often lull the audience into a false sense of security. The set design, dressing, and kids’ costume design were all immaculate and really captured the era and the essence of the 80’s but without making the film feel dated. I would say it was on par with James Wan’s uncanny ability to recreate the 70’s in The Conjuring franchise.
Bill Skarsgard‘s performance was magnificent as the film’s eponymous evil. Many fans were skeptical when the first designs of Pennywise were seen on social media all those months ago. I’m not a blind loyalist, and I love Tim Curry but I am so thrilled by how Skarsgard adapted the character for this film. Pennywise has tormented me for some 26 years, and is the sole reason I still have trouble pulling the plug in any sink, bath or basin. This iteration of Stephen King’s immortal terror was equal parts grotesque, terrifying and, at times, funny. The make up and Skarsgard’s countenance when in character were flawless and unnerving, as they should have been.
The film used quite a bit of CGI, and for the most part, I saw no issue with it. There was one moment when I could clearly see that the shot was a composite of live action and CGI but it was right at the start of the film, and the scene was such a shock to many viewers that I doubt most will notice.
I’ve praise the acting and the make-up, set design, etc. but I was thoroughly impressed by Andy Muschietti’s (of Mama acclaim) ability to create the right kind of feel and atmosphere. There were scenes in this film which were genuinely difficult to watch, not because they were scary or because I was waiting for the fucking clown to appear, but because they perfectly displayed the innate feeling of wrongness in the town of Derry and with its residents. Everything and everyone in the town felt sinister.
I also appreciate that they decided to go with a R-rating for this film. Much like Deadpool, a non-R-rating would have made the film a complete flop. Some of the decisions were ballsy, especially when you are dealing with children, the how many people (filmmakers and film-goers alike) consider a child’s life sacrosanct.
So, what could movie goers potentially have a problem with? There are two things. First, these are all smart kids but they were scripted to do a number of monumentally stupid things, which does not always feel realistic for their characters. That said, the actions that the characters take in the film are exactly what was done in the book, so that gave the filmmakers very little wiggle room. And Second, the script is very much a “horror by numbers” type of plot. The exceptional casting of this film ensured that this was overshadowed, but again, this is not that far from the original source material.
Overall, this was a fantastic film and a remarkably accurate adaptation of the book. My experience was further enhance by my cinema of choice’s decision to have yellow raincoat wearing children carry red balloons around, with all the lights off in the box office area. If you want to have some good, scary, kinda gory movie fun, then definitely see this with that one coulrophobic friend that everyone seems to have.
My rating: 4/5
IT is currently showing at selected cinemas worldwide.
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