I firmly believe that Hollywood remakes are the scourge of creative filmmaking. We’ve seen this proven time and time again as creative properties are simply revisited for the sake of making a buck. Hollywood producers just can’t seem to leave well enough alone!
In comes the new take on Stephen King’s IT. The film faced constant pre-production and production obstacles that seemed to back up my feelings toward remakes prior to the film even being released. Now that I’ve seen the finished product I can confidently say that I’ve never been happier to be wrong!
IT is a startling and visually gripping tale with more heart than any horror movie should possess. The film triumphs largely because of a brilliant cast both young and old. So much of the positive press is focused on Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise (more on that in a moment) but the ‘Losers Club’ deserves just as much praise. A movie/book/anything works when you actually care about the characters in it. In this case, the tension and scares worked because it was so easy to become invested in the kids. Each of the ‘Losers’ had a believable chemistry where viewers could sense that the kids are actual friends. Their playful banter brought a lightheartedness to the story that was needed to break up the dread while giving each young actor an individualized character identity.
Then there’s Pennywise…. can I just say – holy shit! Bill Skarsgård magnificently created an homage to Tim Curry’s portrayal while firmly cementing his own version of the character in horror history. I can’t think of a personalized reimagining that’s worked this well since Heath Ledger took on the Joker. Skarsgård’s Pennywise wasn’t just a creepy clown that sometimes showed his monstrous side, but rather, he is a deranged malevolence that twitched and growled under a thinly veiled clown facade. He managed to be funny, quirky, and unpredictably terrifying across every moment of screen time.
The glue that held this film perfectly in place was certainly the vision of director Andrés Muschietti. Muschietti made it clear that this half of the story was meant to be told from the perspective of the kids. Kids experience things, especially fear, differently than adults. We saw this as the settings they entered may have looked creepy from the outside, then on the inside they became cavernous nightmares just as a child might view it. This was a subtle technique that allowed the audience to connect with the trials and tribulations of the Losers Club on an even deeper level. Casting of the minor adult characters added to this as well since they were all terrible people, if not a sort of monster themselves, as a kid might view them to be.
So if you’re reading this and haven’t seen IT, do yourself a favor and go! It’s a thrilling experience that will stick with you long after the 2 hour and 15 minute runtime. All of the buzz you’ve heard is well deserved. Hollywood desperately needed a reminder as to why horror should be taken seriously and they found IT!
My final review of IT (2017) is 9.5 out of 10.
What did you think of IT? What’s your favorite recent horror film? Sound off in the comments or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Belligerent Barnes