It (2017)

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

Storyline:

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.

2 reviews

  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆ out of 5)

    GRADE: B

    THIS FILM IS RECOMMENDED.

    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.

    Visit my blog at: http://www.dearmoviegoer.com

    ANY COMMENTS: Please contact me at: jadepietro@rcn.com

  • “When you’re a kid, you think the universe revolves around you. You think that you’ll always be protected and cared for. Then, one day… you realize that’s not true.”

    After 27 years, Stephen King’s child-killing clown has returned to haunt a new generation.

    There’s a passage in It that reads, “Being a kid is learning how to live and being an adult is learning how to die.” The reality of that metaphor is what’s most chilling about this movie and the quest for survival.

    Based on the 1986 Stephen King novel, It is the first installment of a planned duology and is the perfect example of when a remake is acceptable. Few people have actually seen or remember the 1990 miniseries that starred Tim Curry as the freakishly horrid Pennywise, so this remake was a great opportunity to remind a new generation why clowns will forever live in our nightmares.

    In Derry, Maine during the summer of 1989, a group of outcast preteens known as “The Losers Club” fight against an immortal, shape-shifting entity responsible for the disappearance of dozens of children in their town, and are forced to confront their own personal demons in the process. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children feeding off of their deepest fears…this 21st century version of Pennywise doesn’t disappoint.

    From what I remember, the original It didn’t scare me at all. Because of the lack of technology with special effects, the 1990 television miniseries came off as a little cheesy and campy as opposed to being the genuine horror like the novel.

    Fast forward nearly three decades, and this version of It uses technology (to a respectable extent) to give a moodier and darker approach to what lurks in the sewers. While I argue that the 2017 It could have been scarier (a true horror film), I think it succeeded in what it was trying to accomplish…but imagine it in the hands of someone like Guillermo del Toro.

    There’s a lot of pressure and anxiety when adapting from the almighty Stephen King. Whether or not your movie succeeds with audiences is one thing, but whether or not King approves is totally another.

    King said: “I had hopes, but I was not prepared for how good it really was. It’s something that’s different, and at the same time, it’s something that audiences are gonna relate to. They’re gonna like the characters. To me, it’s all about character. If you like the characters… if you care… the scares generally work.”

    The comparison of The Losers Club teaming up with the crew from Stranger Things to fight monsters from different dimensions is inevitable. The Duffer Brothers only created Stranger Things after their pitch to direct It was turned down by Warner Bros, but it’s clear where It borrowed their nostalgic influence from.

    I’ve seen some complaints that audiences are just flocking to movies that give us manufactured nostalgia, but (to me) this attempt was a genuine success.

    Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the dancing clown is a revelation from his chilling body jerks to his eerie voice. I think he was the absolute MVP of this movie, and he even admit to having nightmares due to the intensity of the role.

    “There may be something of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and a Depression-era New York gangsterism to Skarsgard’s vowels, but his ability to go from quiet, leering menace to nightmarish attack mode in a split second is a big part of the appeal.” via The Guardian

    “It” may not be the masterful horror we hoped it would be, and it isn’t without flaws, but it’ll still have you sleeping with the lights on.

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