It - This Creepy Clown Movie Rocks The Dark Side
Dir: Andy Muschietti
Starring Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs
Will anyone be hiring clowns for children’s parties in the coming months? Not bloody likely if they go see this latest adaptation of Stephen King’s doorstopping best-seller. In a summer that has already given us the disastrous The Dark Tower, Muschietti’s film is a clear winner, most notably in that the film understands what works so well with King’s best work is not just the scares, but the characters that face up to them. And here the director has assembled a superb ensemble of young players, who are as suitably foul-mouthed as they were in the book, thankfully not sanitised for PG audiences. This is of course an adaptation of only half the book – the Losers Club’s grown up selves will return to face their adult fears some 27 years later (although the sequel will inevitably get here way sooner than that.) So for now we are welcomed into the lives of these young kids, outsiders to a one, who come together in the late ‘80s when they discover that something very sinister is lurking beneath the surface of their otherwise non-descript town, King’s literary hometown of Derry.
Muschietti is aiming for Stand By Me in places, and whilst he doesn’t get there, he at least makes his young heroes believable and spends enough time with them to create fully drawn characters.
And then of course there’s the clown they must face up to. Skarsgard’s Pennywise has big shoes to fill (clown pun intended) following on from Tim Curry in the 1990 TV version. And fill them he does with great aplomb. He is terrifying at times, just plain creepy at others, sometimes a tad too CGI, but overall a great realisation of one of King’s greatest malevolent creations.
Which brings us tot eh big question – is It scary? Well, sort of. There are decidedly unpleasant moments, and there are times when you may well jump. But – and this is to the film’s credit – it by no means wants to follow what is your standard issue Blumhouse-quiet-BANG! approach of most contemporary horror. It is more firmly rooted in telling its story rather than getting to the jump scares.
It stands as one of the better King cinema adaptations and leaves a genuine desire for the planned for follow up. We’re just hoping they have the balls to call it “It – You’ll Float 2” If they go for a Christmas release they could even try "Yule Float 2" (they can have that, we're not even asking for payment!)
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