IT

Well now…I didn’t know how to feel about this remake. Stephen King books were a staple of mine growing up, and IT was fairly relatable, kids fighting their fears come to reality. So the original film/series (as the 90s loved to turn Kings horror in to a series and then show it as a film for some unknown reason) is a much loved one to me. I think Tim Curry’s rendition of Pennywise was sublime as he boarder lined a clown that you would let in to your kids birthday parties….you know, when he wasn’t feeding on children, so booking to see this left me in a little bit of a predicament of already feeling that it wouldn’t match up to my expectations.

How wrong I was. This film keeps the quintessential 80s feel to it, kids that would play out all day and parents didn’t panic about where they were. Bullies that were left to run riot and terrorise the younger kids. Parents who didn’t jump when their kids said there was a killer clown on the loose.

This film elevates King’s book further though. If you’ve seen the original, you would have been a forgiven for feeling a little confused by it, presented from the perspective of the grown ups having flash backs to their childhood and eventually battling Pennywise in his true form, this reboot is clearly a 1 of 2 film and is solely based on the childhood experience. So no flash backs with adult interpretation overlaid on it.

As I’m hoping you all know the original story, I’m not going to break down the synopsis. Really I am going to talk about how the new effects have brought clarity to a shady storyline. Now baring in mind I’ve read the book several times, I always found the original film missed a lot out, never really making it clear that Pennywise presented each child with their biggest fear, or why he was taunting this town. This film explores the reasons why Pennywise lingers in the town of Derry and why he keeps returning in a time based cycle. It also explicitly explains each of the main characters fears, so when you’re presented with it, you’re not left wondering what was going on.

The fears are superbly shown as well. From fear of burning alive, to fear of illness, to fear of clowns, each element is projected to you the viewer in a unique and and fairly terrifying way….well according to the women sat behind me in the cinema who screamed at any opportunity. I will admit though, that even as a hardened horror fan, there was a point where I jumped.

I want to talk a little bit more about Pennywise, obviously as the focal point of the film, it’s really important to present the unhinged yet enticing element of him.

Tim Curry mastered this role, being ever so slightly off kilter when normal and then at the extreme where needed.

The make up and outfit clearly very easy on the eye in clown stakes and the costume brightly coloured to back up the attraction to him for children. Ok, the gruff voice might have made you wonder about him.

So when you’re meet with Bill Skargård in the role it feels very different. The make up not quite so friendly, the eyes slightly off set, the costume lacking bright colour, you feel that there is something to be wary of before he even opens his mouth. As he starts to speak, he is much more tapped in to the dark side from the start. You can hear the crack in the voice that tells you something’s not quite right, and as he is hid in the storm drain speaking to Georgie before dragging I’m under, drool falls from his mouth.

The off kilter eyes and drooling is a theme through out the film so keep an eye out for it. Slargård is also much more movement orientated and the director plays a lot with size and perspective, giving the feel of fear becoming overwhelming.

All in all I raise my imaginary hat to Andy Muschietti for doing such a great justice to this film. Even if you aren’t a horror fan, it’s worth seeing just for the line “who invited Molly Ringwald to the party” and the bully vs. Losers rock fight.

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3 thoughts on “IT

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  1. I am not sure I can do horror movies any more, but this one has my slightly intrigued. So it is a two-fer?

    Personally, I am still skeptical on the makeup of Pennywise. I am down with the old-timey costume, but I think the clown should still be friendly…even an 80s kid would think twice about approaching that face.

    I, too, have read this book several times (impressive considering its 1500+ pages!), and it scared the crap out of me. The scene in the junkyard with the giant bird scared me so much I had to stay up an extra hour reading beyond it to calm down enough to turn the lights off and try to sleep, and I was disappointed that it wasn’t in the original movie. (To be fair, with a book that large, SOMETHING had to go.)

    The original…was OK…better than most King movies, and truer to the books than most. The bigger shame, I think, was the effects could not live up to the potential required by the material in the book. The flashbacks, yes, are less relatable than it sounds like in the current film, but I think most people were disappointed by the depiction of the giant spider. (Which, oddly enough, was not the scariest part for me. I am not afraid of birds but spiders need to be killed with flame throwers.)

    Thanks for this really helpful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Seeing as you know the story I think you’d really like the film. And yes I do feel that potentially the clown should have looked approachable, but Skagård plays it so well it’s forgivable…. as an aside… if you ever read “Gerald’s Game” by King, Netflix have commissioned a film of that… and while not quite true to the book (can tell from the trailer) looks set to be another better rendition of the book. They really do like to make most of the film adaptations quite bad…. I remember watching “Needful Things” and being really upset with it 😂 let’s hope they start to make better adaptions of his books (although they better leave “The Shining” alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There was a TV version of the Shining – it was true to the book but the effects and acting were awful. For me, it’s “The Body” they should stay away from – “Stand by Me” is already solid.

        I hesitate to say this but I think in the right hands “Eyes of the Dragon” would be amazing.

        Can’t remember if I read Gerald’s Game…most likely not, but my mom has ALL the books, so borrowing would be easy. I’d still watch, either way.

        Liked by 1 person

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