From Warner Bros Pictures and New Line Cinema comes the cinematic adaptation of Stephen King’s hit novel It. The story features Stephen King’s iconic horror clown, Pennywise (or It) who terrorizes children in the town of Derry, Maine. This is a remake of the made-for-television movie. It is the first time that the novel has been adapted for theatrical release. It stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise/It, as well as Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Sophia Lillis, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Nicholas Hamilton, Owen Taegue, and Jackson Robert Scott.
Set in the town of Derry, where kids often go missing from their homes and no adult dares acknowledge the pattern of disappearing kids. Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother, Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), was lost many months ago. Bill feels responsible for his brother’s disappearance and is determined to search for him. At the same time, many of his friends, and other kids his age, are starting to have supernatural experiences that only they can see; each featuring a personal fear of the child’s experiences and a mysterious clown called Pennywise. Bill, together with his friends, forms a group called The Losers, a name given to them by their local bully, Henry (Nicholas Hamilton), and his gang, who often picks on them. Together, they want to investigate and uncover the truth about the missing kids from the town and the mysterious clown Pennywise.
Unlike the novel and the 1990 television mini-series, this new It movie focuses mainly on The Losers club’s childhood experiences, and not their adulthood. This gives the movie a better perspective as a young person’s adventure and works well with the bigger theme of coming-of-age within the horror framework. The story also reminiscent of Stephen King’s previous movie/novel, Stand by Me (The Body, its novel title); as it focus on childhood experiences, and new encounter they may face as a child. The movie also has superficial similarities to Netflix’s Stranger Things, showcasing a children’s and teens’ perspectives of supernatural horror events. Perhaps not coincidentally, one of the stars of Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard in the It movie; lending a familiar tone to the movie.
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise may not be Tim Curry, the actor who played Pennywise in the television version, but he delivers a horrifying performance that will shock audiences. Bill truly becomes a creepy clown through his visual performance, using a sardonic, humorous tone to makes children drop their guard and become his prey. Jaeden Lieberher’s performance as Bill helps move the story along and is the driving force causing the children to unite together as The Losers group; he’s also the heart and soul of the team. Perhaps the best performance throughout the entire movie would be Finn Wolfhard’s portrayal of Richie. While the character of Richie can be obnoxious and cynical at times, Wolfhard’s character acts to show the group why Bill’s idea may not be the best approach, while delivering a comedic performance to lighten up the mood, strategically breaking the tension a terrifying situation.
Although It is a horror film, audiences will enjoy more of the action elements through the children’s sense of adventure and wonder, as it seems to focus more on the children’s survival story as an adventure. Due to the length of the novel, the movie is only able to focus the most important plot line that happens during the childhood of each of the characters, yet like all of Stephen King’s classic stories, this version of the movie has the potential to be a film long-remembered.
Advisory: Although the movie may feature children as the stars of the movie, there are certain elements of the movie which may not be appropriate for younger audiences. The most notable would be the horror premise the movie was created for, as well as some violent and the adult themes that’s featured throughout the movie.
Above all, if you are a fan of horror film and a fan of Stephen King, It is movie you’re looking for.