What it's about:
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
What we thought:
“I understand the value of humour as a means of reaching the character, of establishing an emotional connection with the character. I think it’s all about that, you know, engaging the audience with the characters and their journey and making them care for the characters, because if you don’t care for the characters you don’t care for the movie.”
This is what director Andy Muschietti said to me during an interview in Madrid about the remake of Stephen King’s IT. And as I think back to that conversation, it all rings so true.
While IT is probably one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen, it’s also one that will warm your heart and that will connect you to the characters in such an intense way that you’ll feel as if you’re right there with them. You’re rooting for them when they get bullied, when they are scared out of their minds and when they have to face the evil that is Pennywise. You’re there, cheering them on, wanting them to win, winning with them.
It’s like Stephen King says about the film, “to me it’s all about the character. If you like the characters, you care, and then the scares generally work”.
And yes, the scares do work, believe me, they work very well!
A special mention needs to go to Bill Skarsgård who portrays Pennywise. He really makes the character his own, and while keeping true to King’s description of IT in the book, he also brings a whole new dimension to the character. He will haunt your nightmares long after you’ve watched the film. That drooling, open-mouthed, skew-eyed look will be imprinted in your mind.
While Pennywise is quite the star of the film, the cast of kids who play The Losers Club are truly amazing too. They have all revealed in interviews that they connected instantly when they met for the first time and while prepping for the film, and it truly shows. Stand out performances include the sweet new kid Ben Hanscom played by Jeremy Ray Taylor; the only female in the group Beverly Marsh, played by Sophia Lillis and Jack Dylan Grazer, who’s very convincing as the neurotic germophobe Eddie Kaspbrak.
While many Stephen King fans have questioned the changes made to the film, such as excluding the explicit orgy scene or moving the time-frame to the 80s, it all works well and stays true to the spirit of the book.
From costume to editing to overall feel, IT is a truly horrific masterpiece that will make you laugh and cry, but most of all, it will scare the crap out of you.