IT (2017) Movie Review

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When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, neighborhood kids band together to square off against Pennywise, an evil clown whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.

This adaptation of Stephen King's novel 'It' makes it's cinematic debut in creepy, disturbing style, with a lot of heart. A complex coming-of-age tale that prefers slow burn creepy horror over predictable jump scares. Although setting the story in the 1980s may be problematic for some, it thankfully doesn't end up being nostalgia pandering for the sake of it. There are visual references to other 80s movies like Gremlins and Nightmare On Elm Street, but rather than copy them, it sticks to its own world and captures that nightmarish atmosphere perfectly.

With a modest $35 million budget, director Andres Muschietti and director of photography Chung-hoon Chung make this film look 3 times better than it should. The film is accompanied by an effective score by Benjamin Wallfisch (A Cure for Wellness), elegant and beautiful but sometimes almost unbearable when ramping up the tension.

For me, the film delivers on what the trailers promised. Scares. From the opening scene with poor little Georgie, to the bathroom blood bath and to Pennywise crawling out of every space you can think of. With so many memorable moments, it feels like a Director's Cut where Andres Muschietti kept everything in, and that may be the reason for some of the pacing problems.

The cast is pretty much perfect. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise the Dancing Clown goes from charming to twisted in seconds, and I wish there was more of him. Even with all the makeup and costume, his weird ticks and mannerisms come through. With his scenes in particular, I never questioned when CGI was or wasn't being used, as his presence demanded attention. Though it was strange that his powers had no limits, and gave me the impression he could do anything at any moment.

The young cast that make up The Losers Club are great, their chemistry needed to be spot on and they nailed it. Sophia Lillis (playing Beverly Marsh) is probably the standout. My one complaint would be the character of Richie Tozier (played by Finn Wolfhard). His joking around is fine early on, but as the film progressed i was begging for him to shut up and stop ruining dramatic moments with unnecessary quips. However, I felt for this dynamic group as they overcame loss, bullying, horror and division to overcome their fears and defeat the evil gripping their town.

'It' brilliantly captures the haunting memories of childhood fears, and there's nothing like fear to make a paper man crumble.

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