Seven young outcasts in Derry, Maine, are about to face their worst nightmare — an ancient, shape-shifting evil that emerges from the sewer every 27 years to prey on the town’s children. Banding together over the course of one horrifying summer, the friends must overcome their own personal fears to battle the murderous, bloodthirsty clown known as Pennywise. – New Line Cinema
It has been awhile since I last posted and I could tell you why but honestly it’s not that interesting and nobody reading this really cares so let’s move on. A few days ago I saw Stephen King’s It. If you are a follower of my blog you will recall that It was the 2nd to last movie on my list of most anticipated summer movies. I know we already covered that none of you reading this actually care about me but before I give my thoughts on It I’d like to tell you a bit about myself and Stephen King’s It.
As a child I loved being scared and coupled with my overactive imagination that led to many nightmares. Some of my most vivid memories of childhood are me being chased down the hall of my childhood home by some terrible green monsters searching for the safety of my parents bedroom. By the way those green monsters were the Grinch and Kermit the frog. To this day I can’t tell you why I was afraid of those two but I still get the chills thinking about them. According to my mother those emerald demons were just leftovers from my nightmares but I beg to differ, I am certain that house was haunted but that’s another story for another time. At another point in time after watching the Exorcist I was worried I was going to get possessed, thankfully I went to a Catholic school. Shortly after that I feared my basement was infested with man eating dinosaurs after watching Carnosaur late one night on the SyFy channel. But no matter how times I scared myself I would continue to go back to scary movies and books. So when most of my peers in middle school were reading Harry Potter I was reading Stephen King. During that time my favorites were Pet Semetary and the books with short stories, my aunt got me The Tommyknockers too but I couldn’t get through it. I devoured Stephen King novels like I devoured fast food (I was quite chunky in my younger years.) There was one Stephen King novel I stayed away from though and that was It. Clowns absolutely terrified me and I am not sure if that was just seeing bits and pieces from the miniseries or if I was just born with the inherit thought that clowns were creepy.
When I was 15 I bought It and a fanny pack at a yard sale for 50 cents, truth be told I think the seller just wanted to get rid of the fanny pack. Obviously I couldn’t turn down that deal even if the book terrified me. Against my better judgement I decided to read It. I picked that book up and couldn’t put it down. To this day It is my favorite book of all time and the biggest book I’ve ever read. Shortly after finishing the book I watched the miniseries, I enjoyed it but nothing could hold a light to the novel until maybe now. The point to all of that is that I have a soft spot for It and because of that I was really looking forward to the film.
Stephen King’s It was directed by Andy Muschietti and the screenplay was written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. Muschietti is known for having a difficult name to spell and pronounce and also for directing Mama which I remember being pretty good, maybe. As for the writing trio I didn’t recognize any of the names but my intelligent friend Wikipedia did know who Cary Fukunaga was. Fukunaga has directed and written a couple of things people like such as True Detective season 1 and Beasts of No Nation but I’ve seen neither. He was even supposed to directed It but he left the project before production began. I have no idea what the film would’ve been like if Fukunaga (what’s up with these wicked hard to pronounce and spell names working on It) directed but Muschietti was certainly a good choice to replace him.
The story of It differs from the original novel, the novel bounces back between the children who we see in the film and them as adults which we don’t see in the film. The book doesn’t follow chronological order. The movie also moved the setting to the late 80’s which is more effective, especially considering the sequel will now be set in modern day. Other than the setting other bits were modernized, such as the forms the It takes. A few things from the novel have been omitted but the central story/theme is still there and if they really wanted to that stuff could be put in as flashbacks in the sequel. Overall this adaption is faithful to novel while feeling fresh and different from the miniseries. Aside from properly adapting the novel the script is just plain good, a common trope in horror films is to make characters just there to die. I loved all the kids in this movie, their friendships seemed believable and I didn’t want any of them to die. Of course I never want kids to die. The script has a good story and good character but horror movies need something else and that’s a good villain. Pennywise was great and Bill Skarsgard was excellent in the role . Except there was more than one villain in It. Each character faces their own antagonist other than Pennywise and often that antagonist is a normal person (aside from Henry Bowers cause that kid is
fucking nuts.) The point is monsters come in all shapes and sizes, it could be your local pharmacist or even your mom. This film looks terrifying, Muscheitti knows how to make some seriously creepy, gory, visceral scenes. Some of the scares are so brilliant and imaginative. The directing in this film is very effective in setting the tone and feeling of the film. Just thinking of the some of the scenes sends shivers down my spine. The things Muschetti had Pennywise do were absolutely terrifying. I actually had a nightmare the other night when I was thinking about this movie before bed. I don’t want to spoil anything but there is a puppet scene and it makes me uneasy thinking about it.
If you can’t tell by now, I liked this movie an awful lot. In my opinion the directing and script were excellent but the cast was fantastic and what made the movie all the more better. Let’s start with Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. Skarsgard was absolutely captivating in the roll. At some points I thought to myself, I might actually take a balloon from this guy and other times I thought run like hell cause that’s a creepy clown. The way he spoke and moved in such an awkward manner made Pennywise seem human like but also so alien and foreign at the same time. A truly terrifying performance. As I mentioned above I quite liked the kids that composed the Losers Club. They all delivered some solid acting and were just believable with their friendship and the way they acted. I really liked all the kids but there were two stand outs. Finn Wolfhard who played Richie and Jack Dylan Grazer who played Eddie. Going into It I hadn’t expected to laugh as much as I did but I laughed a lot and that was because of those two. Richie is a motor mouth who never shuts up. Everything he says is usually at someone’s expense. He had so many great lines. I had two favorite ones, one about a beaver and another about killing clowns. Eddie is a worry wart and a hypochondriac, you can see where the laughs came from. I may have laughed more than I was scared watching It but that’s why I liked it so much.
It was a fresh take on the novel while still remaining faithful. It is a scary fun time. A film for the whole family, showing you the true power of friendship.
I give Stephen King’s It a 9 out of 10, would watch again.
“You’ll float too.”