Movie Review: IT (USA 2017) ***


It Poster



Chase Palmer (screenplay), Cary Fukunaga (screenplay) 


Bill SkarsgårdJaeden LieberherFinn Wolfhard

IT is the much anticipated new horror film based on the 1986 Stephen King of the same name. Any novel by King turns out to be a box-office hit. IT expects to do the same and not only that, but to boost the 2017 box-office from its awful slump in recent months. IT was first adapted in a 1990 series, but many like myself have never see it.

The basic story involves seven children, with stuttering Bill being the main one, all terrorized by a killer dancing clown called Pennywise. Their town of Derry, Maine have experienced disappearing children in the past. One of the kids researched that these events occur once every 27 years. It is later revealed that Pennywise comes out to eat children. The kids have to say together in order to defeat the monster.

The film never compromises the horror – which is both emotional and physical. IT is clearly a film for adults but with both adult and childhood horror. Besides the real terror of the dancing clown, there is the notion that the terror is also imagined. When the terrorized kids stick together, Pennywise is defenceless. The film also emphasizes the terror of being alone.

As a result of the un-compromised horror, the film turns out to be quite nasty. The nastiness includes:

– poor young Georgie at the start of the film losing an entire arm
– pedophilia with Beverly terrorized sexually by her father
– bullying taken to the limit with the bullies using a knife to cut up a victim and a vicious fight of rock throwing lots of blood splattering a son killing his father with a switchblade

With a story involving a total of 7 kids, it is expected and it does happen, that not all the stories are completely told. The main kid, Bill, for example has a few minutes with his parents who are then absent throughout the rest of the film .

IT though set in Maine (as in many of King’s stories) was shot in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Toronto and also around Oshawa and Port Hope. Canadians will definitely recognize their typical built neighbourhoods, with the streets and storm drains, like the one shown early in the film when Georgie first meets the killer clown.

Despite the film’s flaws, director Andy Muschietti (MAMA) effectively piles the horrors on. His display of emotional and physical terror is well balanced. The horror and shock effects are quite good. The film is definitely many steps ahead of recent horror films like ANNABELLE CREATION.

The film running at 135 minutes, is long for a horror movie which normally runs 90 minutes. Thought the film is scary in most parts, the film drags in the middle. At the end of the film, the credits ‘Chapter 1’ appear, which means a sequel is for sure already in the making. The second instalment should be good if it is at least good as this one.