‘IT’ (2017) MOVIE REVIEW – A Truly Phenomenal Modern Horror Masterpiece!
Every 27 years Pennywise makes his way out of hibernation to wreak absolute havoc in the small town of Derry, now 27 years after the TV miniseries adaptation of the classic Stephen King novel ‘It‘ is back and he is more horrifying than he has ever been. This is a psychologically thrilling masterpiece of the horror genre that utilises brilliant and inventive scares along with an immensely unsettling atmosphere that will leave you terrified long after leaving the theatre. Now the horror here is incredible and it is one of the most important elements of the film….. being a horror film and all…… but my favourite element here is by far The Losers Club. I absolutely LOVED watching all of these kids interact because their relationships and back and forth shit-talking dynamic felt so damn authentic. The performances behind The Losers Club were fucking incredible, they provide a tonne of smart, witty, and hilarious moments that fit so damn well within the film and don’t take away from the scariness or intensity of what is going on.
I will start with the one and only Pennywise the Dancing Clown who in this film is played expertly by Bill Skarsgard…… I never thought we’d see the day where someone would be able to put in a performance as Pennywise that would rival Tim Curry’s in the 1990 miniseries. But that day has come and Skarsgard is a living nightmare in this film, his rendition of Pennywise (like the rest of this film) is more violent, brutal and fucking insane than Curry and that works so well within this version of It. Curry portrayed a much more playful version of the character…… the rendition you see here is as far from playful as you can get. Just his appearance alone is enough to scare the living shit out of you, and that combined with the voice he puts on that escalates from a bit insane to fucking ridiculously insane forms the perfect villain that is more terrifying that Curry’s version. He still retains some of that cynical humour but doesn’t go overboard with it. It really is an odd feeling, to hear a joke but be horrified as opposed to amused, and it is executed so damn well here.
When it comes to the horror described in the original novel it is brutal, some of the stuff these kids go through in the book is un-fucking-believable, now even though the film doesn’t go all the way down that road (eg. we don’t have an underage orgy thankfully) this is still a very dark film where some pretty gruesome and grotesque stuff happens. And the best part is, it all fits in…. it isn’t blood for the sake of blood, it blends with the tone created in the opening moments and adds to the horrifying nature of everything going on. Much of the horror here comes from simply the creepy atmosphere surrounding the locations visited by The Losers Club within the town of Derry but when Pennywise decides to go into action and mess with the kids’ fears shit gets fucking intense. You might have the occasional jump scare but it is all executed so perfectly that it catches you off guard every damn time. And it doesn’t give you a chance to breathe, once a scare starts it lingers, giving you the feeling like the threat just never goes away, leaving you always on edge. And the intensity of the scares only escalates as the film goes on, a number of isolated moments here and there lead to an absolute onslaught later on that brings everything together and is absolutely crazy.
Where ‘It’ is mostly about Pennywise and the scares the most important element of the story I believe is the exploration of friendship, unity, sticking together, and overcoming the fears life brings. All of these themes are explored extensively within The Losers Club who are so fucking entertaining to watch. The club is made up of Mike (Chosen Jacobs), Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Stan (Wyatt Olef), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), and Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and the dynamic between all of their unique characters throughout the film is brilliant. This is a group of kids who really feel like a group of friends in the real world, there is love, conflict, banter and hate and you cannot help but love their interactions. They all bring a shitload of humour to the table, more humour than I thought we’d be getting in the entire film. Every joke hits so damn fast and so naturally that you don’t see it coming at all, for instance, a few times, right in the middle of intense moments they hit you with a joke that doesn’t feel forced at all and provides some brief levity before throwing you back into the deep end with more Pennywise.
I could honestly watch these kids just hang out, all day long, just watch a day in the life of The Losers Club because they were all so interesting and director Andy Muschietti does an incredible job at making sure you get to know and care about every single character. All of the performances behind the characters were exceptional but Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) was beyond exceptional. The kid’s comedic timing is on fucking point and he has some of the best one-liners that may have you crying of laughter. I have to mention though that they all sell the terror they were going through to perfection, forget acting, you think at times these kids are really in these life-threatening situations and it only helps to draw you into the scenes. Without getting the dynamic within The Losers Club correct this film would not have worked nearly as well as it did.
So in the end I cannot get enough of this movie so much so that I will go see it again once it is officially released in cinemas. For casual horror fans you will love this movie for the humour, the scares, and easily have a very good time with it. But for the fans of the novel or even the miniseries there is so much more in here you will get out of it. You get to see so many scenarios from the book play out that (as far as sticking to source material) put the miniseries to shame. I say you should definitely go check out this phenomenal Stephen King adaptation that I would say is hands down one of the best we have gotten yet.