IT, based of the Stephen King book of the same name, attempts to follow in the footsteps of the beloved cult TV miniseries and bring scary clowns to the screen. Can IT pull IT off? Kathryn reviews.
Finally, a remake I was actually excited to watch. A fan of both the book and he original 1990 TV series, which holds a special place in my heart, I came into this trying to find something wrong with it. However, being directed by Andrés Muschietti (Mama) with the screenplay by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga (the good season of True Detective) and Gary Dauberman, and approved by Stephen King himself, IT did not disappoint.
IT deviates from the book and original film; a key change is the time-period in which it is set, shifting from the 1950s to the summer of 1989. If you know nothing about IT, the basic plot is that a number of children go missing around Derry, spurring a group of teenage misfits known as “the Loser’s Club” to fight back against the shape-shifting entity that terrorises their town.
Most of the characters in “the Loser’s Club”, except for Beverly and Stan, stayed true to their portrayal in the book and the casting for each character was pitch-perfect. However, the standout star has to be Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Richie Tozier, who provided all the wit and comedic relief throughout the film. The chemistry between him and Jack Dylan Grazer was excellent and captured the essence of “the Loser’s Club.”
In his first appearance as Pennywise the Clown, I wasn’t sure about Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of the iconic character. However as the film went on he made the role his own, and even though he had Tim Curry’s big boots to fill he did manage to do it, easily triggering my dormant Coulrophobia yet again.
Overall it was a good adaptation of the novel and stayed true to Stephen King’s vision and narrative. Obviously there were some cuts given Stephen King could describe a ball-sack for 4 pages, but they made good use of the vast source material and still managed to include lots of detail from the book.
IT makes for both a good horror film and a good coming of age story: rather than being full of shitty jump scares, we get a slow burn build up of tension as the titular clown creeps into the children’s lives, while the film saves the horror-enthusiast pleasing gore to when it matters. The book’s still scarier – nothing replaces the original terror on the page and in your head – but for a film it comes damn close. Definitely one of the best films of the year.