The public has been graced yet again with a retelling of Stephen King’s classic novel, “IT.”
The film has become a box office hit, earning $117 million on its opening day, a rating of 8.2/10 on IMDB and a certified fresh 86 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“IT” revolves around a group of outcasts, who affectionately call themselves The Losers Club, who discover that their town is cursed by a demon clown named Pennywise.
Pennywise returns every 27 years and kills children who live in the town.
The group then actively pursues the demon to kill him and bring peace to their town.
The plot of the movie very closely resembles that of the novel, with one caveat.
The 1,138-page novel is split into two parts, with the first showing the Losers Club fighting Pennywise as children, and the second part showing them returning 27 years later to finish the job.
To the dismay of some, the movie “IT” only depicts the first part of the novel.
This becomes a double-edged sword where on one hand, it can be easily surmised that in this age of constant sequels and spin-offs, Hollywood is just trying to make a quick dollar on an already proven franchise that it knows will bring people into the theater.
On the other hand, splitting the movie into two parts allows for the film to go into greater detail and spend more time fleshing out the various character arcs of each of its protagonists and in turn, lets the audience become better invested in the story.
This added character development is what really sets “IT” apart from other films in the seemingly constant stream of hack and slash horror films that pervade in today’s cinema.
Don’t get me wrong, “IT” has its fair share of seemingly cheap jump scares, but behind the façade of modern movie production lies King’s haunting and gruesome story.
That story is brought to life by spot-on acting and writing.
Amid children’s arms being violently ripped off and blood spurting out of sinks like geysers, “IT” boasts moments of comedy that criticize and satirize the characters’ actions, which brought my entire theater into a roar of laughter.
Comments like these from the characters in the film exemplify what the audience is thinking without resorting to parody or other such mediums.
Say what you will about child actors, but the film’s cast of pre-teens, including Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff and Jack Dylan Grazer, does a fantastic job of building the world around them and getting the audience to empathize with all their emotions.
If “IT” has one shortcoming, it would be its portrayal of Pennywise the Clown.
While Bill Skarsgård does a commendable job portraying the famous antagonist, he fails to fill the shoes left by his predecessor, Tim Curry.
Skarsgård plays a more conventional horror villain like Freddy Kruger, who is scary just for the fact that he is evil, unsettling to look at and is consequently semi-one dimensional.
By comparison, Curry brings an intangible element to the character that fills every scene he is in with a terrifying bravado that stays with you days after you watch his performance.
Overall, 2017’s “IT” is an all-around good horror film that works to blend modern horror tropes with King’s gift for expansive storytelling, perfect for date night or just something to enjoy with friends.