It
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It (2017)

It
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In a small town in Maine, seven children known as The Losers Club come face to face with life problems, bullies and a monster that takes the shape of a clown called Pennywise.

Release Date:September 5, 2017
Runtime:
Genres:Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller
Production Company:New Line Cinema, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, KatzSmith Productions
Production Countries:United States of America
Director:Andy Muschietti, Adam Richard Benish, Adam Bocknek, Penny Charter, Richard Cowan, Jordana Lieberman, Nick Lopez, Andrew Pritchard, Shane B. Scott
Writers:, , ,
Casts:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Plot Keywords:based on novel, clown, killer, child, stephen king
  • IT - Not Your Average Horror Film
    September 18, 2017

    There is certainly no scarcity of Stephen King adaptations in Hollywood, from the gems that were the Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Misery and The Shining, to the wasteland of movies like Cell and Sleep Walkers. These adaptations occupy both extremes of the spectrum. IT is yet another adaptation of perhaps one of the author's more popular novels, the thousand page book was adapted into a mini series in the 90s with a great performance from Tim Curry as the iconic character Pennywise the clown, the series however received mixed reviews yet all the same is considered a beloved by many King fans. Needless to say this latest remake had some high expectations to live up too. After less than a month in cinemas it is safe to say IT has exceeded them.

    Andy Muschietti has helmed horror before, his 2013 flick Mama although trampled by critics was adored by audiences. Mama did well enough at the box office, earning $146 million, to pique the interests of studios for the IT adaptation which was at that time in a dormant period of production. Finally in the early months of 2016 Muschietti signed on and production hit the fast lane. Almost two years in the making, with little marketing Muschietti has managed to craft a film nothing short of profound.

    IT is not your average horror film, it's not the run of the mill, cliché overflowing jump scare fest that most modern horror films are, but instead a sophisticated and character driven thrill ride. The film doesn't deliver because of a single aspect , it's not just the scares or just the acting, or just the sets it's every cog turning to work the bigger machine.

    Perhaps the the most vital component of a horror film is, well… the horror and IT doesn't disappoint. The two hour fifteen minute run time is a hundred and thirty five minutes of high quality horror. Are there jump scares? Yes, but not only are they justified but they work. So rest assured, there are no raccoons jumping out of trash cans to give the audience cardiac arrest. Bill Skarsgard's acting as Pennywise is really what fuels the horror in this film, the fact that he looks evil and hides in dark sewers is not what makes his character terrifying. It's the range he shows within this character, at times he really does seem like a great guy to hang out with, that is of course before he dismembers you. The opening scene of this movie really sums up Pennywise, the scene is one of the most powerful scenes in the movie and perhaps one of the greatest scenes of tension and terror in modern horror. Skarsgard effortlessly embodies his character perfectly creating the sadistic, diabolical and twisted Pennywise the clown.

    Now the scares aside, does IT work as a film? This is often the fear audiences have walking into a horror film, often directors get so caught up in making a genre film they forget to make a good movie. IT has a great antagonist but the audience needs to root for someone, they need the relatable but realistic protagonists that modern horror often overlooks. Our protagonists in IT are the losers club, a band of bullied kids in the town of Derry. They are quickly thrown into the whirlpool of evil and soon become the town's only hope. The cast includes Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jack Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Taylor. They're all kids yet they play their characters like they've been acting for years. The chemistry between these teens is perfect, their characters well written and varying, however to the extent that you believe they are true friends not paper thin, expendable victims. In fact the acting all around is near perfect, the characters are not exposition machines, the kids act like real kids not mature adults in child bodies, the result is a film with characters you are invested in and characters you care about.

    Andy Muschietti said it himself in an IMDb review, "this is not your average horror film", it really isn't. Muschietti doesn't treat the movie as a pure genre film, he weaves in humour and light hearted moments which do not come off as abrupt or out of place but natural within the setting and among the characters. The film in addition, adds details and hints throughout that may not directly affect the plot but that certainly do contribute a layer of complexity and depth to the outcome. For example the film opens with the haunting and beautifully composed score. As the scene progresses we see the score is not in the background but is being played on a piano by a character. There's a scene in a library, keep your eye on the librarian. It's moments like these that set this film apart from conventional horror. From the horror to the acting the film grasps every opportunity to craft a meaningful horror film. IT will last, it is far from forgettable and deserves repeat viewings not so much to comprehend but to notice the artistry. King fans will be pleased, horror fans will be pleased and all of them will be up at night after this one.