When we grow up loving something since childhood, we can become very possessive of it. It could be a stuffed animal, a toy (mine was He-Man) or a pet. As we grow into adulthood, that possessiveness wears off only to become wonderful and nostalgic memories. The same can be said for the films we grew up watching. Early in 2016, we caught wind that Hollywood was going to remake one of those nostalgic films. Stephen King’s ‘IT’. The news was met initially with mixed feelings as you can imagine. Too many times we as horror fans have been burned by subpar remakes. Is ‘IT’ just going to be another one for the scrap heap?
After the trailers were released, everyone’s excitement grew, including my own. So, I decided to re-visit the made for TV adaptation, we all lovingly remember. While for the most part it holds up pretty well, the first half of the film that centers around the children was excellent. But the second half that involves the kids all grown up, not so much. You can’t deny the many faults in that part of the film. Including that dreadfully awful looking spider. Will this new reincarnation make the same mistake?
Most of us horror fans know the story of IT by now, but I will give you the lowdown just the same. Set in the summer of 1989, a group of friends are enjoying the early days of summer vacation. When a fellow classmate goes missing, the kids spring into action. Together they uncover something that is taking little children in the town of Derry, Maine. Something that takes the form of a clown. Something undefinable. Something the kids only refer to as ‘IT’. Can they band together to save themselves?
This adaptation is directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama). Together with screenwriting team Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman they effortlessly weave a fresh, new generation of ‘The Losers Club’. Keeping the characters in the same vein as the source material for the most part, they gave us a whole group of young actors to look out for in the future. All the children’s performances were excellent highlighted by Beverly, played by Sophia Lillis (37) and Richie (Finn Wolfhard, Stranger Things). It was Wolfhard’s portrayal of Richie that was the icing on the cake for the group. His wise-cracking jokes and perverted put downs all while wearing milk bottle glasses, had me laughing my ass off throughout.
The role of Pennywise the clown was given to Bill Skarsgard (Hemlock Grove). Skarsgard’s portrayal was nothing compared to Tim Curry’s 1990 Pennywise. Not even close. But what Skarsgard couldn’t achieve by comparison, is not a terrible thing. Because he was able to bring the audience an entirely new monster. This Pennywise held to the shadows, was a bit more mysterious at first, raising the creep factor from the get go. In a way, he was more terrifying. ‘IT’ also had its fair share of blood and gore too. But you will have to see the movie for those. I will say this though, there were some really good moments, where I even heard squirming noises coming from the teens sitting around me in the theater.
While this reincarnation isn’t breaking any new ground, it makes a great attempt at separating itself from its predecessor. If you know the source material, you basically know what to expect. Fans of the book young and old will enjoy this flick. Like the TV mini-series, ‘IT’ will have two parts. The second, will be focusing on the kids as grown adults. I am already foaming at the mouth for it, but the foam will have to wait as part two is slated for a 2019 release at the earliest.
Stephen King’s ‘IT’ was a frigidly bleak film, that still felt hopeful. It was hysterical at times, it was jaw-dropping and just plain fucking scary. It was everything you want in a solid horror movie. This film grabs you by the throat in the first five minutes and doesn’t let go. Muschietti finally gave us the film we wanted and more importantly gave us the Pennywise we deserved.
If you have been living under a rock since last year here’s a trailer!
…You’ll float too…
Thanks for reading boils and ghouls and remember,