review by Bobby Blakey
There are few horror characters that are as iconic as Tim Curry’s IT from the 1990 TV miniseries portrayed brilliantly by Tim Curry. For years there have been rumblings about them making a big screen adaptation of the story and after numerous bumps in the production it is finally here, but is there any chance that it could capture the same creepy magic of Curry and King’s book or should it have stayed in the sewer?
IT follows local kids who are disappearing one by one in the town of Derry, leaving behind torn body parts/remains. In a place known as 'The Barrens', a group of seven kids are united by their horrifying and strange encounters with a clown called Pennywise. The film stars Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan and Bill Skartsgard stepping into the role of Pennywise the Clown. The original mini-series focused on the story of the kids and the adults as it shifted the story back and forth. For this film they have kept the focus squarely on the kids which had me concerned at first, but after seeing it, it was the right choice. All of these kids are awesome together offering up a Goonies like group full of witty banter and tur friendship, but have no fear this is no family film. Some of the best moments of the film outside of the horror area is just the gang just hanging out or dealing with the struggles in their personal lives. Often time films like this get bogged down with side stories of the characters, but they are so important here and they are almost creepier and more terrifying than Pennywise himself.
With the kids being superb together and the story perfectly capturing the essence of the book’s story the only real concern that people might still have is that of Skarsgard’s version of Pennywise. Rest assured it is not an impersonation of Curry’s performance, but instead his own disturbed and creepy version that works to perfection. I was a bit put off by his look early on, but after seeing it in action I loved every moment of him on screen. He is all in and has created a new version that is way more terrifying than Curry’s version in my opinion. That doesn’t mean it is better, it is just a different take and it works for this way darker version of the story. In a world of lame PG-13 horror it was nice to see them take a story like this and go all in with an R rating. They do not play it safe and offer up some creepy and disturbing moments throughout that remind that evil is not just in the clown.
I love this film so much and cannot wait to see it again. From the opening sequence I was sold and there are so many great fun moments that will have you laughing and cheering as well likely leave you creeped out. The finally was a lot more satisfying than I expected and loved the way they handled everything right up until the simple yet awesome ending that will no doubt have fans even more excited. If you have reservations about comparing it to the original just go in and envision King writing this story as you are watching it and I do not think you will be disappointed.
In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including deleted scenes and numerous featurettes that take you behind bringing this horror classic to the big screen. Join the Losers Club when IT hits Digital HD on December 19th and then on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on January 9th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.