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Friday, September 08, 2017

Sean Kelly

Review: IT

Stephen King's novel receives new adaptation in IT. In the summer of 1988, the small town of Derry is experiencing an epidemic of missing children cases. One of these missing children was Georgie ( Jackson Robert Scott), the younger brother of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher). Together with the "Losers Club" of Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Bill investigates the source of the disappearances, which leads the club to a shape-shifting creature that often takes the form of a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård).

IT, or more accurately IT: Chapter One, is a new big screen adaptation of Stephen King's 1986 novel of the same name. Ironically, the film arrives 27 years after the 1990 TV miniseries, which happens to be the length of time "IT" remains dormant before attacking again. This new film of IT, directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama), covers half of the lengthy original novel, with a second film covering the second half soon to enter production.

Obviously, the most iconic character of IT is the character of Pennywise the Dancing Clown, who was quite iconically played by Tim Curry in the original miniseries. This time around, the character is played by Bill Skarsgård (Hemlock Grove), under layers of make-up and CGI enhancements. Having not seen the original miniseries in full, I can't fully compare both performances. However, I do have to admit that Tim Curry probably edges out Bill Skarsgård, if only for the fact that he played the role first and will always be the performance to beat.

Unlike the 1990 miniseries, this new adaptation of IT does not hold back on the blood and gore, most of which involves children. IT also features horror that does not involve a killer clown, such as the Loser Club being tormented by violent bully Henry (Nicholas Hamilton) or the not-so-subtle hints that lone female Loser Beverly was molested by her father.

In some ways, I have to admit that the thunder for this new adaptation of IT was probably somewhat stolen by the Netflix series Stranger Things, which also focuses on a group of young friends dealing with supernatural horrors. In fact, Finn Wolfhard, who plays Bill's loudmouth best friend Richie, happen to also play lead kid Mike Wheeler in Stranger Things. However, I still have to say that IT is still a decent horror film, with some very real scares in moments. However, I do have to give the criticism that the CGI for Pennywise's monstrous transformations sometimes took me out of the film.

Altogether, IT was an enjoyable tale of supernatural horror and I look forward to Chapter Two.

8 / 10 stars
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Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).