This flick hits every notch on the “teen thriller” scale. While it’s odd for a Horror film to debut in September, this one seems appropriately timed. With the success of shows like “Stranger Things” and an ongoing acceptance of movie remakes IT hits the mark. Stephen King’s thousand-page source novel makes for a difficult transition to film. As with every book there’s always more material then you can cover in a two-hour window. Several of Stephen King’s works have been turned into TV miniseries for just this reason. The original 1990s IT miniseries while cheesy and at times soap opera-esc is beloved.
Given that the first iteration was a TV production they used network talent to stock the cast. Harry Anderson from Night Court, John Ritter of Three’s Company, Richard Thomas of The Walton’s, Tim Reid of WKRP and Sister Sister. In fact the only bona fide movie star talent was Tim Curry. Curry’s turn as the clown prince of terror was a masterstroke. He oozed sociopathic terror. Always able to tap into his deep well of emotionally charged performances Tim Curry made Pennywise the clown the stuff of nightmares.
The 2017 version focused on the kid’s journey with the idea being the sequel would follow the adults back to Derry. This keeps with the motif of the miniseries. Moreover, no matter what age you are there is always a special connection to youth. This version of IT displays the talents of seven brilliant child actors. For the sake of time and column inches I’ll refer you to the genius of four; Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Jack Grazer as Eddie, and Finn Wolfhard as Richie. Jaeden offered a believable performance, which is in stark contrast to the forced stutter and over the top styling’s of 90’s Bill. I also wont talk about Tim Reids chops as they anger me to greatly. Sophia Lillis played Beverly as the tomboy she was intended to be. She brought both gravitas and humor to the role.
Jack Grazer’s Eddie played the sick-boy perfectly. Mothered within an inch of his life we believe his rebellion against his mom’s constant hovering is genuine. In addition many of us can remember the kid with the overprotective parent who thought we were bad influences. As fare as scene stealing goes Finn Wolfhard is unmatched. Finn’s Ritchie acts exactly as a child that age would. He’s braggadocios, funny, and full of unwarranted confidence. Fresh from the success of Stranger Things, a Steven King inspired Sci-Fi series; he plays the friend that will definitely offend other but is hilarious to be around. (I have special affinity for that character).
I couldn’t help feel like I was watching Stand By Me as I sat in the theater. The kids in both films are dealing with stresses that are legitimately trying. Both groups need to band together to solve their problems in strength in numbers fashion. Both develop bonds that are so honest and powerful a child could only have formed them. Mostly they have to face fears and bullying. You may not think of it as a coming of age movie but IT is about overcoming the trials of life and fears of youth.
Finally, in terms of scare tactics this hits the mark. Not every scare is a jump nor are they all terrifying but each is played perfectly by Bill Skarsgard. Instead of the manic, loud, and intentional fear mongering of Tim Curry we get a more premeditated approach. Quite and calculating Bill’s Pennywise uses fear as seasoning when he eats the children. Not quick to the draw he drags out the terror tactics. Tim may be a perennial favorite but Bill gives him a run for his money.
You Must See IT!!!
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