Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Movie Review: IT (2017)

On Tuesday, September 5th I was invited to a press screening of the theatrical remake of Stephen King's iconic horror movie, IT, directed by Andy Muschietti. Before the movie began, there was a short video preface by King himself saying how he is really pleased with how this movie turned out. I think he and I will have to part ways on this sentiment in some areas regarding IT. 

I'm not going to give away spoilers by adding plot points to my review synopsis for IT. I will keep it simple as the movie basically follows the same storyline as the 1990 made for television version. Except it takes place only while the 'Losers Club' are kids. Bill, Ben, Bev, Richie, Eddie, Mike and Stan, a group of social misfits who meet and form a tight-knit friendship, especially after each of them individually encounter the mysterious entity they refer to as IT who appears as the thing the child fears most. IT also appears in the form of the demonic-like Pennywise the Dancing Clown carrying blood red balloons.

Pennywise is plenty terrifying when he does appear in this 2017 updated version of IT and Bill Skarsgard does a convincing turn as this evil creature who feeds on fear. His first victim, little Georgie (played by Jackson Robert Scott) is at first lured in by the fake joviality of the clown in the sewer before the creature shows it's true nature in a gruesome attack on the little boy.

IT is just shy of being two hours long, and I have to honestly say, if you are expecting a 'scary clown' driven thrill ride from beginning to end, then hang those expectations up at the theater door before going in to watch the movie. I believe that one of the reasons why Stephen King is happy with this movie version of his novel, which is screen written by Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga, is because it spends more time focusing on the kids and how they bond together as friends over other issues in their lives, like being bullied by the same three older teen boys.  

For the majority of the movie spends its time being more like another version of Stand By Me than it does a horror movie about a monster. Large portions of IT drag on as we the audience, follow a bunch of kids around like unwitting voyeurs. Worse off, there are no redeeming adults in this movie. Of the few we do see, most of them are monsters in their own right.

One thing that does play in favor for IT is that the young cast of actors who play 'The Losers Club' are an extraordinarily talented group and they mesh together is such a way that brings believability to the friendship their characters have.  Sophia Lillis, who plays Beverly, has an ethereal beauty and just the right amount of tomboy toughness in the role to prove that she is going to be one of the top Hollywood actresses in the very near future. Finn Wolfhard as the bespectacled Richie Tozier is another standout who keeps his character fresh and believable. In fact all the child actors do.

There are some pretty decent scares in IT, especially when the movie does start focusing on Pennywise and the evil he poses to all the children. But then again, it's all about the children and the child actors. Which is not to say that is a bad thing, but why are there no adults in their world who care about them. To me, that is the real evil in IT.

Marla's Score: 6/10

Watch the movie trailer for IT here:

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