When the trailer for “IT” got published, it was watched more than 190 million within the first 24 hours. This incredible number broke all records by far and predicted a huge success for the movie. The studio even green lighted a sequel before the official start. But can the movie hold up to the hype?
There is something wrong in the small town of Derry, Maine. Dozens of children disappear, and the adults also start acting up strangely. When Bill’s little brother Georgie vanishes, he and his friends from the Losers Club, a group of outcast preteens, start to investigate the events. They soon find out that an evil, shape-shifting clown who lives in the sewers is responsible, and the kids take on an uphill battle against evil forces, more frightening than anything they could imagine.
Stephen King’s famous novel gets its second adaptation now on the big screen, and after several changes in cast and crew the movie, is now finally released to its terrified audience. Set in 1989 instead of 1958, the movie continues to fuel the recent ’80s revival sparked by shows like “Stranger Things.” The makeover gives it a fresh look, visually separating it from the first adaptation of the novel. However, some scenes are copied shot-by-shot. For example, one of the opening scenes when Georgie tries to catch the paper ship Bill made for him before it goes down the drain.
The best part of this film is the cast. Following “Midnight Action” and “The Book of Henry”, Jeaden Lieberherr gives another stellar performance as the stuttering gang leader Bill, and we will see a lot more from this young man in the future. However, the true star of this movie is Bill Skarsgard, as the evil clown, Pennywise. He has the hardest job, succeeding Tim Curry’s acclaimed performance from the 1990 TV-movie of the same name. If you were afraid back then, don’t watch this movie alone. It is said that Skarsgard’s performance even terrified the child-actors on set and made them cry.
As great as the actors are, the film has its weaknesses, but a few plot holes can be forgiven especially in the horror genre. Pennywise is as creepy as it gets, but when it comes to visualizing the fears of the children, director Andy Muschetti can’t come up with anything better than zombies or copying the bathroom scene from the TV-movie. The only time he succeeds is when a painting becomes alive and goes after one of the kids, a scene that even scared Stephen King himself. While succeeding in creating a tense atmosphere, he mostly generates horror by cheap scare effects and CGI. We should expect more from a movie with the reputation of being based on one of the most frightening books horror-master Stephen King has ever written.
Like most horror movies, “IT” often fights with logic (“let’s stay together” – “where is Bill?”), but it makes up for it with a great cast, excellent camera work, and a very creepy Pennywise, but there are scarier movies and it doesn’t really add anything new to the horror genre. If the only reason to make a reboot is to give it a new look, it’s not enough and feels more like a wasted opportunity than a fresh start. Overall, the movie can’t live up the expectations created by the massive hype around it, but let’s see what they’ll do with the sequel.
If you liked these movies you’ll like “IT:”
IT (1990), Stand By Me, Poltergeist, The Conjuring
Directed by Andy Muschietti
With Jaden Lieberherr, Bill Skarsgård, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Olef
Written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
Cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung
Music by Benjamin Wallfisch
Edited by Jason Ballantine
R-rated, 135 min.