By James Master
Clowns, creepy adults, children disappearing, jump scares, and so many more things make up the newest film to be adapted from a Stephen King book. That film is “IT.” It is set in the fictional town of Derry, Maine in the 1980’s. The film begins with an endearing scene between brothers Georgie and Bill. Bill is making a paper boat for Georgie to sail down the street during torrential raining. Fortunately for Bill, he does not go out with Georgie due to being sick. As Georgie sails his boat down the street, he meets his death at the hands of Pennywise, the Dancing Clown.
From that moment till the climax of the film, the scares keep coming. Some of the jump scares are obvious ones, but for the most part they will have the audience gasping and jumping in their seats. The main characters Bill, Eddie, Beverly, Richie, Mike, and Ben band together to defend themselves from a natural threat, but eventually fight together against the supernatural threat of Pennywise, the Dancing Clown. It is revealed that Pennywise is not just a clown, but a monster that can cause hallucinations and feeds off the fear he causes in his victims.
In horror films, there has to be moments of humor that breaks the scenes filled with intensity and fright. These comical scenes serve to reset the audience and prepare them for more frightening scenes. In the case of “IT”, those comical scenes are provided by the brilliant young actor Finn Wolfhard. Audiences will know Wolfhard from his role in “Stranger Things,” a show that is set in the 1980’s where kids band together to defeat a supernatural evil. The one liners delivered by Wolfhard are timed nicely and will have the audience laughing almost as much as Pennywise has the audience gasping in fright.
The acting of the other child actors also is superb. With seven main characters to focus on, films sometimes have difficulty balancing them, but not with this film. While the storyline is focused more on Bill and his quest to find his missing brother, the other members of The Loser’s Club are not ignored. The acting of the seven child actors is also surprisingly good. Most of these actors have very slim acting credits to their name, but if this film is any indication to their acting prowess then there will be more to come.
Speaking of Pennywise, fans of the 1990 television mini-series version of “IT” will inevitably compare Tim Curry’s portrayal of the clown to Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal. While Curry plays an unforgettable performance as Pennywise, Skarsgard is hands down the scarier clown. It’s not just the CGI that is used to make Pennywise scarier on the silver screen, it’s Skarsgard’s performance that makes this version memorable. There is one scene at the beginning where Pennywise is luring Georgie to his death using the paper boat. He offers the boat to the young boy and says “Take it.” Normally, this wouldn’t be that creepy, but Skarsgard stresses the t sound at the end. It’s in the trailers for the movie if you’re interested.
As far as adaptions go, fans of the book will be happy because the film closely follows the source material, with exception to the ending. This isn’t the end of the story however because this was only the first part. There will be another movie that chronicles the adult versions of these children dueling Pennywise once more.
If you’re looking to watch a horror film that will scare you from the first moment to the last, “IT” is the film for you.