It (2017)

  • Time: 135 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Drama | Horror
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Bill Skarsgård


In the Town of Derry, the local kids are disappearing one by one, leaving behind bloody remains. In a place known as ‘The Barrens’, a group of seven kids are united by their horrifying and strange encounters with an evil clown and their determination to kill It.

One review

  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

    GRADE: B


    IN BRIEF: There are plenty of scares in this well-made predictable horror remake.  

    SYNOPSIS: Children are mysteriously vanishing and a band of young sleuths battle an evil force named Pennywise.

    RUNNING TIME: 2 hrs., 15 mins.

    JIM’S REVIEW: Clowns get no respect. Once the target of laughs and the butt of jokes, they now are coming into their own as repressed sick murderers bent on revenge and mayhem. Their reputation is evolving and Andrew Muschietti’s It will cement its new incarnation.

    The phrase, “a penny wise and a pound foolish” might mean to be careful about unimportant things and careless about important matters, but the film adaptation of Stephen King’s It is very smart to pay attention to the small details that build on the tension and phobias of many moviegoers and then lets the overall storytelling and plot create the horror. The film is also very clever to deal with its evil It, namely Pennywise, a sadistic killer clown and perfect villain vs. its Stand by Me coming of age innocent teenagers who come together to save the inhabitant of their New England town.

    Many years ago, Mr. King’s successful novel was an even more successful 1990 television mini-series. Just as that version allowed strong character development and its intriguing plot to unfold in order to build suspense, so does this newer installment…plus it has the freedom to be more graphic in its violence, which has its built-in pluses and minuses depending on every moviegoer’s taste. While the story still remains formulaic and the killings are a tad more bloody and gruesome (enough to earn a R-rating), the film sets out to do what It is meant to do: scare and satisfy its audience. (The screenplay by Chase Palmer. Gary Dauberman, and the film’s previous director, Cary Fukunaga, follows the book fairly faithfully. Based on the original source, this film doesn’t tell the whole story and only deals with the earlier lives of the adolescent crusaders before they reached adulthood…there is already a sequel about the novel’s later chapter.)

    Director Muschietti skillfully makes this fright machine work and he paces his film with enough bumps in the night for audiences to relish this genre. Too often, he relies on too much CGI, an overabundance of quick cuts, or sudden loud noises to create the cheap thrills, but he also knows how to set up the action, generate the fear factor, establish the characters enough for the audience to invest in their deadly peril, and slowly build scenes of suspense to well earned horror. (My favorite moment: the slide projector sequence.)

    The plot may be redundant but it is serviceable. Children of the tiny village of Derry, Maine are disappearing with no end in sight. No one, especially the dysfunctional adults, are unable to solve the mysteries or unwilling to believe a group of teenagers who decide to investigate. The kids are a cross section of young misfits and loners that are more clichéd characters than real, but, let’s face It, this “Loser’s Club” are mere plot devices to move the action along to the next creepy encounter.

    The young actors are fine in their roles, especially Sophia Lillis (a real find), Nicholas Hamilton, Jeremy Ray Taylor, and Jaeden Lieberher. They are all totally believable and give some nuance to their stock generalizations of childhood stereotypes. An extremely likable crew and very well cast ensemble naturally get the audience on their sidesas they combat an evil force that preys on their fears.

    But to make this all flow effortlessly, that crazed villain needs to be menacing and terrifying. Pennywise’s make-up, with its cracked white greasepaint, sharp rotten teeth, and elongated forehead, defines this monster so effectively. More ghoulish than clown-like, the result is chilling. Special mention goes to the hair and make-up artisans for creating such a memorable creature and kudos to the man behind the painted mask, actor Bill Skaragard.

    It’s all scary fun.

    NOTE: Nice poster design too.

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