Stephen King has a lot to answer for – not least being the source material for a host of cinematic turkeys.
But occasionally his manically horrific imagination brings some quality chills to the big screen such as The Shining and now we have another corker with IT.
Based on the chunky ‘80s coming-of-age novel that was previously filmed as a mini series (which itself inspired hit TV show Stranger Things) – the new IT is a classy horrific thrill ride that really delivers.
The writers have skilfully abridged the material – losing a lot of the overly gonzo stuff like cosmic turtles and keeping the core nasty narrative of an evil child killing demonic entity that stalks the small U.S. town of Derry, Maine.
Stars of this tale are a likeable bunch of school kids known as ‘The Losers Club’ made up of: Leader ‘Bill’ (Jaeden Lieberher) whose younger brother is killed by the monstrous evil, then there is new kid in town ‘Ben’ (Jeremy Ray Taylor) and ‘Bev’ (Sophia Lillis) – the only female of the group. Also in the club are the sweary ‘Ritchie’ (Finn Wolfhard), Jewish ‘Stan’ (Wyatt Oleff), delivery boy ‘Mike’ (Chosen Jacobs) and hypochondriac ‘Eddie’ (Jack Dylan Grazer).
The youngsters are up against Bill Skarsgård’s cackling, demonic personification of evil as the clown monster called Pennywise - all sinister yellow eyes and beguiling red balloons. Pennywise can appear in a many of guises – using the children’s worst fears – and in the process single-handedly (re)kick-starting mass terror of clowns.
IT certainly provides some good scares and gets pretty nasty in places – so this isn’t a film for the faint of heart. Skarsgård’s Pennywise is an iconic baddie, packing more of a freaky punch than Tim Curry’s version. One interesting point is that none of the adults in the film are anything other than abusive, neglectful or distant. The kids are the only heroes but as well as the monster they also suffer at the hand of psychotic teenage bullies. It’s no fun being a child in this tale.
There is more the story of IT and a part 2 is in production that tells the tale of the losers when they are adults – just how they turn out after the horror they go through here will be fascinating…
If you want to see a full on horror with some fun moments and a decent pay off – this is IT!
Review: Matt Woodcock