Aida Vucic | 12/09/2017
IT isn’t bad….
The highly anticipated release of Andy Muschietti’s adaption of Stephen King’s IT has lived up to the high expectations surrounding it, leaving Muschietti grinning as widely as the titular character himself.
It’s the summer of 1987 and our band of heroes (otherwise referred to as the Losers Club) are on a quest for answers after the mysterious disappearance of Bill’s (Jason Lieberher, the self-appointed leader of the group) brother Georgie. Friends Ritchie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stan (Wyatt Oleff) are only too happy to partake in this summer adventure until other children begin to go missing. The group recruits the assistance of the new kid on the block, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) whose proclivity for history provides instrumental information regarding these disappearances. The kids discover Derry’s curse; that the suburban township of Derry is home to a monstrous clown that feeds on fear,who only comes out to play every 27 years.
Each of them are visited by Pennywise in the form of their fears (including token girl member Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and out-of-towner Mike (Chosen Jacobs)). The film invites you to share in these character’s fears. IT derives menace from these children’s personal demons as much as it does from the monster Pennywise himself.
Indeed, it’s the performance of this young cast that anchors the film. The universally strong performances from the young cast is the movie’s strongest point. From a story perspective, it also gives the most meaty content. Every character has their own personal demons, from rapist fathers and theological dilemmas to traumatic memories and psychotic bullies. They also bring an element of humor (particularly Finn Wolfhard, who is pitch perfect as the foul mouthed Ritchie) that is incredibly charming.
As the horrifying Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård is a perfect incarnation of the villain; his gangly demeanor and poised lips ably fill the shoes of his predecessor Tim Curry. Skarsgard brings some edge to the character, with a giant protruding bottom lip, an ever present glob of drool hanging past his chin and a cracked forehead. He is a nightmare come to life.
However, the movie does give him too much screentime. By the end, even the most horror averse viewer will be comfortable watching Pennywise and his CGI scares in a final confrontation in the sewer. In some respects, this is a benefit, given Skarsgard’s amazing performance, because you get to see even more of the transformative talent he has put in.
While the film won’t quite quench the horrophiles thirst, Muschietti brilliantly blends his scares with sentimentality and genuine, laugh-out-loud humor, to produce a satisfying remake that is well worth the ticket price.