It Review

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It Review

Jake Ditto, Staff Writer

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It is the best horror movie this year. It is the story of a group of kids that call themselves the Losers Club and are being terrorized by a monster who takes the form of a clown and calls himself Pennywise the dancing clown who can change into someone’s biggest fear. For example, if your biggest fear is a spider, then he can transform into a giant spider. The Losers Club, a group of misfit 13 year olds constituting the seven main characters of the film, have to band together to get rid of Pennywise so they can stop a series of child murders in the fictional city of Derry, Maine.

If you have read the Stephen King novel or seen the 1990 miniseries, then you will know by the trailer alone that this is just part one of the story. Part two will be of the kids as grown adults during their return to Derry 27 years later. This made me happy to see that the studio will not rush this story, but expand it to two movies. This movie also has a somewhat long runtime of two hours 15 minutes.

The thing I loved most about the film is the children. It is crazy to think that the best ensemble cast this year was from a group of kids. Each child gives a great performance and not one of them outshines the other. One of my favorite things about the kids is that they actually talk like kids their age do, as in they cuss a lot. The dialogue between the children is great and funny throughout, not just when they cuss but when they banter and make fun of each other even more.. One thing that frustrates me with comedies is when there are children in a film and the filmmakers rely on a child cursing to be funny: it is not.

What I was most intrigued by going into the movie was Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. I absolutely loved what he did with the character. He had the tough task of following up Tim Curry’s amazing performance as Pennywise in the 1990 miniseries. He is not trying to be Tim Curry or even trying to be better than him. He takes a different approach on the clown by being more sinister. There are little things he does like drooling when he talks that makes him scarier. The line delivery and voice he uses are amazing and it made me so happy and scared at the same. He will go down as one of the best Stephen King book-to-film monsters and characters of all time.

Another thing that I loved was that this movie does not hold back on the blood and gruesomeness that the miniseries was unable to do. Since the miniseries was made for TV, there could not be anything too gorey. The film is the exact opposite. There is a ton of blood in this movie and you could tell this came from the mind of Stephen King and what he portrayed in his book. It also caught me off guard because there are certain scenes in the miniseries that are not grisly and those same scenes are in the movie and are horrific and shocking. This is also enhanced because the miniseries shows the kills from Pennywise’s point of view and we just assume that someone died. We actually see the kills in the film which is oddly satisfying and refreshing.

The film is directed by Andy Muschietti, who also directed the 2013 horror movie Mama. He did a great job making a horror movie, but also made a coming of age movie and focuses on the kids sticking together rather than the horror aspect. Muschietti directs the horror scenes very well. The scene will start and there will be suspense and jump scares throughout instead of having a jump scare then moving on to the next scene. He will focus on a scene and will give each scene closure. Muschietti also leaves plenty of easter eggs throughout referencing things like Tim Curry’s Pennywise, the novel and other books written by King.

The movie is also pretty faithful to the book. It still focuses on things like Bill’s stutter and keeps King’s vision of a coming of age story. Pennywise also transforms into things in the book like the leper, but does not transform into anything like the wolfman. The reason for this is because the film takes place in the late 80’s where as the book takes place in the ‘50s, when the universal movie monsters were popular and that’s what the kids were afraid of. It doesn’t make sense to have the creature of the black lagoon in this movie when the kids have never seen the movie. I also think that the filmmakers make a good decision in taking out a lot of the more complicated and confusing parts of the novel like Maturin the Turtle and Pennywise being alive before the universe was started. If they added that, it would take away from the film and the general audience would be lost.

The CGI is the only thing I can see being a problem in the future. The film had a budget of around $35 million, which is not enough for a story this complex. For now the special effects are fine but it will not look realistic or terrifying in a couple of years.

It is the best horror movie of the year, with the best acting ensemble this year as well. The movie is more than a horror film, but a coming of age film that is also funny. It far surpasses the miniseries and will be remembered as one of the best Stephen King book-to-film adaptations with one of the best Performances from a King adaptation, and you should see this film as soon as you get the chance.

 

Grade: A