Having read Stephen King’s “IT” in recent times, I can safely say this was my most anticipated of 2017. I can also say, this is the first time I’ve given a 5-star review. I can’t fault it. It’s perfection. It’s horror, it’s heartwarming, it’s humourous and it’s visually spectacular.
The first scene is nothing short of perfection. We meet Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) and his big brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), as they construct a boat for Georgie to sail down the flood waters of Derry. With Bill sick in bed, Georgie sets the boat sail solo, and chases it relentlessly as it careers into a storm drain. It’s there he meets Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard), who entices him with a balloon and the return of his boat. Unlucky for Georgie, he gives in to the charming clown and loses his arm in a very gory and quite frankly disturbing confrontation. There’s been a lot of discussion regarding the portrayal of Pennywise with comparisons drawn to Tim Curry’s 1990 miniseries clown vs Skarsgard’s 2017 version. It’s almost like comparing apples and oranges, but Skarsgard’s Pennywise is absolute perfection. He’s nailed the voice, the laugh and the facial expressions to form a truly terrifying clown that will likely haunt your dreams for weeks after seeing “IT”.
Where “IT” excels is in the realm outside of horror, forming more of a coming-of-age film that’s largely “Stand By Me”-esque. The self-declared Losers’ Club (Bill, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stan (Wyatt Olaf) and Mike (Chosen Jacobs)) forge a friendship based on exclusion, and stand together to fight against Bowers’ (Nicholas Hamilton) gang but also Pennywise (or as they call him, simply It).
Some of the criticisms circling address the CGI used, particularly on Pennywise. Yes, it’s obvious but really it’s not out of place, and it only adds to the terror of the clown as it hunts down the town’s children to feed on their fear, but not before playing with his food. All in all, he only has about 20 minutes of screen time, so the time we do get to see him means a whole lot of terror.
Apart from Pennywise, the horror within the town surrounds the creepy adults. For those that have read the book, you’ll know that Pennywise has a lot of control over the adults and also Henry Bowers, but it’s not inherently obvious in the movie. Subtle clues are given, such as a red balloon where IT has control, but it’s not a slap-in-the-face clue. It’s a clever technique that allows the audience to draw their own observations. The adults in the story are quite scary in their own right, from an abusive father to an over bearing, hypochondriac mother as well as a borderline-pedo pharmacist. It all adds to the fact that it’s not only a clown hunting children, but a whole town in disarray.
“IT” nails so many elements. It’s absolutely spot on with the horror, and creates edge-of-your-seat moments teamed with jump scares and some creepy undertones. The casting is on point, with even the smallest of roles really standing out. Hamilton as Bowers was a particularly notable one. It also perfectly sets up part two of the film – which at this point I have no doubts that it will be made – and those that are familiar with the novel will know exactly what I mean by that. Future storylines are perfectly set up and the second half will flow on nicely.
5 out of 5 clowns.
Check out Drew’s review HERE.