Saturday, 9 September 2017

IT


The town of Derry has a dark secret; adults are vanishing at a rate well over the national average. However, kids are worse. Much, much worse. What’s taking all these kids of the streets? Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) finds himself at the heart of Derry’s dark secret when his younger brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), also goes missing. Bill and his ragtag group of mates, dubbed The Losers, spend much their life avoiding bullies and trying to find out what why the children of Derry keep vanishing.

Consisting of over 1100 pages, IT is one of Stephen King’s longest novels. Quite frankly cramming all the content within these 1000 plus page into a two and half hour movie, even a three-hour movie, is quite an arduous task. For this reason, the film is split into two separate, and distinct, segments. The first part of the film is about the kids and the second half, I imagine, is about the adults. Unlike certain films (Hunger Games, Divergent, Harry Potter) the film actually benefits from this because what makes this movie a success would not have been possible if the film hadn’t been split in two.

One of Stephen King’s most beloved film adaptations isn’t a horror film at all but a rather moving look at friendship among young boys on the cusp of their teenage years. What makes IT work really well is that the relationship between the group of friends is highly reminiscent to Stand by Me, which is high praise indeed. The inclusion of a girl in the group also brings about memories of Super 8 which was, in turn, inspired by the works of not only Spielberg but King also, particularly IT and Stand by Me.

The performances of the young cast are key to the success of the film and thankfully, except for one or two wobbly moments, are exceptional. Much of the film is about the trials they face in their own lives, namely vicious bullies, terrible parents and absent parents (a common theme in King’s work) and the worries of growing up and hitting puberty. It’s almost a film in itself and the children are each dedicated enough time to that they feel fleshed out and real, elevating the rest of an average but well-made film.

IT is course a horror film, and not just a drama about a group of friends finding their way in a tough world where they should be supported by their absent parents. The horror aspects of the film are workmanlike enough to be effective and the jump scares are well timed to bring enough shocks to satisfy most horror fans looking for a film that will give them a few scares. It’s somewhat lacking subtlety and that quietness that would make the film chilling rather than just being a jump-out-of-your-seat type of film.

As good Bill Skarsgard is (Pennywise is a good mix between GCI, practical and Make up effects), it’s the moments of real horror (bullying, abuse) that works better than the supernatural horror, which lacks a certain suspense throughout the story (the identity of the clown causing all the mayhem is already pretty well known to a certain generation).

That said it never really feels like a film that is first and foremost and horror film. Instead, it’s a rather moving drama that highlights anyone suffering from difficulties in their life should stick with their closest friends to help them get through their darkest and toughest moments.  

4/5

5 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm reading the novel and I'm really enjoying it. I can't wait to see the movie.

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  2. I'm seeing this tomorrow and I can't wait. I read the book earlier this year.

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  3. Pennywise wouldn't stand a chance against The Losers' Club working together with The Avengers

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