Be aware I will not be spoiling anything here in my analyzation for this much anticipated second version of the timeless horror novel by scare maestro author Stephen King who relishes in tapping into peoples inner most fears and on this occasion it is the common phobia of ‘clowns’.
Originally filmed in 1990 as a made for television mini-series with the magnificent Tim Curry as Pennywise the mystical dancing clown who appears on a regular basis throughout centuries in Derry, Maine to snatch children for his survival until hibernating before reappearing years later.
This new, quite different adaptation has Pennywise portrayed by Bill Skarsgard an actor from Sweden best known for period romances such as Anna Karenina (2012) while also making an impression in the recent action gem Atomic Blonde, however, this is something completely different as the terrifying entity stalking the woods and sewers.
Personally, i’m not afraid of clowns but the makeup effects on old and new Pennywise are tenacious to my nerves, freaky in no uncertain terms.
The film opens with a child playing in a heavy rain storm racing after a folded paper boat floating down a gutter until Pennywise stops it from going into the drain enticing the innocent kid to take it out of his hand, you may guess the rest, not pretty.
This beginning simply is a starter to what horrific images and skin crawling moments are to come. Comedy is injected sporadically.
Controversy is never far away for the uninitiated, the film like the book spirals into dark places.
Many liberties have been taken from the novel so don’t expect a word for word screenplay, for a start the movie is set in the 1980’s, not 1950’s but there is an abundance of familiar scenarios to please the King aficionados.
Over time the town certainly knows there is a missing children plague, unusually though it seems many ignore the problem or do the adults actually know but don’t tell.
More creepy than actually scary although trust me in saying jumping or screaming from cinemas will be a definite. The almost unknown cast of young talent is a benefit all completely natural together as the ‘Losers Club’ nerd like gang of friends.
Unique, Finn Wolfhard, exceptional in Netflix series Stranger Things is also cool here while ginger haired and freckled Molly Ringwald lookalike Sophia Lillis, a young upcoming star with a Shakespeare background acts beyond her years here as the Beverly, the lone girl of the Losers Club dealing with extreme adult situations.
Excellent composer Benjamin Wallfisch creates a sneaky effective score to jump scares, also cinematography looks great and detailed time period settings are Goonies like but this is not appropriate for a young audience in any way.
Much discussion will be had after experiencing this version of IT with salacious arguments sure to continue as Chapter 2 is due in theatres 2018.
Shane A.Bassett | Movie Analyst
Horror | USA, 2017 | 15 | 8th September 2017 (UK) | Warner Bros | Dir. Andres Muschietti | Bill Skarsgard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher