Stephen King’s IT (2017) – A Spoiler-free Review

I’ve written previously about the horror movie villains who scared me as a kid, and I’m ashamed to say that Pennywise the Dancing Clown, from the acclaimed It mini series of the 90’s was not on my list.

It wasn’t until recently that I realized the reason for this: He scared me so much that I had buried the idea of him so deep in my subconscious mind that I forgot how scared I was of this creature.

Then It floated back into the zeitgesit (see what I did there?) as people all around started talking about the film that was originally to be helmed by Cary Fukunaga.

He dropped out, and while the Duffer Brothers of Stranger Things fame wanted to take over, they were deemed too inexperienced at the time, and the reigns were handed to none other than Andy Muschietti, director of Mama (2013).

IT 2017 Pennywise in Sewer pipe - BTG Lifesetyle

Going into the film I wasn’t expecting a lot. I had seen the initial photos of the new Pennywise, and he didn’t seem as terrifying at first. I wasn’t too familiar with Bill Skarsgård as an actor; and I knew he had huge clown shoes to fill in the wake of Tim Curry’s performance as Pennywise in 1990, which terrified a generation of people.

The only other sliver of hope was the inclusion of Finn Wolfhard, who just so happened to star in Stranger Things as well, a Netflix series heavily influenced by the works of Stephen King and other 80’s horror storytellers and filmmakers.

So what’s the verdict?

The Good

The Kids are Alright!

No, really. These child actors who play the Losers are brilliant in their roles. You can see the talent or training on the screen, as each child’s performance is seamless. You believe their awkwardness, and their banter, and their fear all the way through.

IT 2017 movie review - the losers - BTG Lifesetyle

Many a time you’d simply feel like you were hanging out with them, like you’re a member of the crew, or a fly on the wall.

They’re so relatable, no matter who you are you will recognise part of yourself, or the friends you had as a kid, in these characters.

Pennywise is Terrifying

Oh yes he is! I had my reservations when I saw the first image, and not knowing the actor so well; but I can say unequivocally that Bill Skarsgård is unbelievably brilliant as Pennywise the Dancing Clown!

He’s manic, weird, and just plain old creepy in the best possible way (because that’s what we need from the character after all).

Pennywise - IT Movie 2017 Review - Spoiler-Free - BTG Lifesetyle

There are so many subtle nuances in his performance, from the inflection in his voice, when delivering lines, to the way he moves his body and eyes; he’s done a great job of following up the amazing performance by Tim Curry in the 90’s mini-series.

Muschietti Walks a Perfect Line

Let’s face it, Stephen King’s Novel has a lot of really messed up stuff happening in Derry, including a very controversial sex scene which the media have been going nuts about.

While that’s not the only thing left out of the film, director Andy Muschietti has done a stellar job of selecting the elements that remain from the book, and those that are excluded.

Andy Muschietti IT 2017 Director with Balloon - BTG Lifesetyle

It’s amazing how he’s actually managed to create a sense of fear, disgust and a constant unnerving sensation from scene to scene based on what he’s chosen to include, as well as how he’s specifically directed the actors to portray certain elements of their performance.

This is only his second major film, after he’s successful horror Mama, but this guy has an amazing career ahead of him at this rate, and master of horror James Wan has some competition in the race.

The Bad

Unbalanced Character Building

With so many lead characters and a run time of 2 hours and 15 minutes, it’s no surprise that sometimes the amount of time spent on each character’s back story and moments of character building, is unbalanced from character to character.

IT 2017 Pennywise Meets Georgie - BTG Lifestyle

I won’t mention who as this is a spoiler-free review, but some of the kids get more screen time and details to their lives than others. Some of the kids even have their roles in the book completely shift.

Conclusion

In a world where audiences are too disillusioned to scare, IT offers solid creeps to horror fans and general audiences members.

It doesn’t just operate well on the level of horror, but provides a great study of small-town America, what it means to be a kid, and shines a light on the unsavoury things that go unseen in modern society.

I highly recommend It for anyone. It makes a great date night film, or to see with a bunch of friends who love horror.

As of this review, It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 86%, and an IMDB score of 8.1/10.

You can watch the trailer for IT below:

You can catch a bunch of scary movies at the big screen this Halloween season. Browse some of the new releases here.

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Stephen

Creator. Adventure Seeker. Geek. Thinker. Marketing Dude. Editor-in-Chief at BTG Lifestyle. Lover of film, coffee, tech, travel & photography.

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