Sure, author Stephen King work has had it's a share of good adaptations. The early 80's you got films like The Shining (1980), Cujo (1983), Christine (1983). That ended when the decade ended and the 90's came about.
You got something like the Mist or 1408 both from 2007 but for the most part, it has been a mess of films and TV shows of King's work. It is one of his books that didn't get adaptation justice. A book that came out in 1986 and like most other King films, a monster hit about a town in Maine and how a clown is part of the issue. Being that the book was 1,138 pages, It would be hard material for an adaptation to fully cover but it's still good material that would make money and a story that has fans. In 1990, you got a mini-series for TV. You can't say that it was bad but something that was limited due to being only for TV. It has always needed a film adaptation. Now in 2017, it only has taken 27 years to fully get the first film adaptation to the big screen. Will justice come?
In the town of Derry, Maine in 1989, group of kids start to undercover the mystery of the town. A town that has many people disappearing and demons unleashed that all come from clown a named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård).
Right away, it does feel like a Goonies (1985) or even the newer TV classic show Stranger Things (2017). Labeled as the "Loser Club", we have a group of kids of running around in the town causing mischief and riding around on their bikes. Even better and how said The Goonies or Stranger Things worked so well, It has an amazing young cast and characters that have layers of depth to them that shows what good casting can do. The leader of the group is strutting Bill ( Jaeden Lieberher). His brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) went missing in 1988 and he takes it upon himself to undercover the mystery of the town and wants revenge for his brother. For a role that requires the character to pull stuttering off, Lieberher pulls it off as well as a young actor is going to do. Bringing the female perspective to the group is Beverly (Sophia Lillis), a girl who moves around a lot, who gets picked on too often and who has a big issue with her predator of a father Alvin (Stephen Bogaert). Lillis brings a character who looks and has a Molly Ringwald feel to her and very spunky of course like Ringwald was. The next biggest character is the overweight Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), a new kid in town who likes to undercover Derry's secrets and like Bill has an interest in Beverly. Following his star vehicle performance in Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard is the smart-ass character, Richie. A film that shows if, given an opportunity like this, Wolfhard can be funny. Next in the group is Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), who's short, has asthma issues and likely the dorkiest of the group. More dorkiest to the group can be found in Stan (Wyatt Oleff ), who is Jewish, his father is the town rabbi and seems the be least confident of the group. Lastly, you have Mike (Chosen Jacobs), an African American who knows of Derry past. Unlike the rest of the cast, Jacobs does seem forgotten about and you would hope a sequel would explore him more. Along with his group of buddies, Henry (Nicholas Hamilton) is the town bully who likes to terrorize the group restlessly. It is hard material to begin with, and director Andrés Muschietti tackles each character in his own different way using a cast of nobody's. Just brilliant as it gets.
Next, to its cast, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is something really to cherish. Yes, Tim Curry performance in 1990 as Pennywise was special but Skarsgard is even more special. Using well-done makeup, costume design, and good dialogue, he works wonders as a clown that rips apart these kids and brings each of them their own demons. Skarsgard knows how to be creepy and what it takes. For somebody like a younger audience member or even old, Pennywise is a clown that will give them nightmares. Even I who never had an issue with clowns, Pennywise made very unsettling moments for myself. Somebody will be therapy after sitting through this.
More so to Pennywise, you should be scared about the psychology element of him. Like Freddy Kruger, he seems to know your mind and can do whatever he wants with it. A gory bathroom scene really explores this element and or even the entire third act. Something I really want the sequel to explore more.
With the great cast of young actors and a powerful evil clown, It should be noted how well the location of this film works. Shot around the Toronto area, it creates a town that's believable being set in the 80's. A soundtrack that brings 80's music and everything in 80's vibes. Location is really even more impressive in the film third act. Using a house that will give nightmare alone on appearance, inside is a terror ride with many twists and turns for Pennywise to strike that sets up this film for a memorable ending.
This is everything we wanted. A film seemingly well worth the wait and now we can't wait for the sequel. A Stephen King adaptation we can actually get scared about; something we haven't said in awhile. It is the new masterpiece of the horror genre.