Stephen King’s “It” is back and ready to terrify the next generation in Andres Muschietti’s new adaptation. Set in the late 1980s in a seemingly ordinary suburb, seven preadolescent kids, later known as “The Losers’ Club,” individually witness the shape-shifting clown, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgaard). After many children go missing, including a club member’s younger brother, the team knows they must try to solve the mystery of the menacing clown wreaking havoc in their town.
“It” is Muschietti’s second full-length film. For a director with a brief resume, his success in making “It” is as surprising as one of Pennywise’s jumpscares. “It” may become the best King film adaptation, topping “The Shining” and “Carrie.”
As many horror fans know, the 2017 release is not the first stab at adapting King’s 1,000+ paged horror epic. “It” first appeared in 1990 as a TV miniseries. Fans consider the original a cult classic, but critics weren’t as fond of it. Don’t expect the ho-hum critic response for the current reboot. Expect praise, and lots of it. Most namely, Muschietti’s Pennywise leaves viewers shaking in their seats, while the ‘90s version of the killer clown is easier to handle.
The intensity of the new film is amped up tenfold, meaning more screams, gore and (fortunately) laughs! Only minutes into “It,” an arm is ripped off into the clutches of Pennywise, spewing blood the entire time. But, don’t let the releasing of bodily fluids from the jumpscares keep you from enjoying the movie. “It” is filled with not only loads of crude jokes, but also memorable and touching scenes. Each member of The Losers’ Club deals with problems of their own. “It,” has a clear and easy to follow theme regarding the inevitable end of youth. These factors make the movie more than just another meaningless horror flick.
Not only is the director fairly unknown, but so are the actors. The cast of The Losers’ Club and Pennywise aren’t played by any big-names. It’s refreshing to see new faces on the big screen. The most noteworthy performances were Pennywise, played by Skarsgard. Skarsgard is so scary, he’s putting clowns out of business. Also, there’s Beverly Marsh, played by 15-year-old Sophia Lillis. This young actress was the empowering female character we’ve been waiting for. And finally, the wisecracking Richie Tozier, played by 14-year-old “Stranger Things” actor Finn Wolfhard, brought in some much needed comic relief.
The film isn’t ideal in all respects, though. The biggest disappointment was not giving all members of The Losers’ Club their deserved limelight. Some characters seemed barely touched on, such as Mike, who lost his family in a fire, and Stan, the son of a respected rabbi. The film focuses most on Beverly, the lone girl in the Losers’ Club and Bill, the brother of the lost boy. Muschietti had a lot of ground to cover in two hours and did a great job getting as much in as possible, but it’s not perfect. “It” is a must-see, even if you’re not a horror fan. The movie has more to offer than scares. It has brilliant cinematography, hilarious one-liners and complex character development. Hopefully, part two of “It,” which is currently in progress, will discuss the brushed over characters. Regardless, “It” is scary good — a gem in the clutter of mindless horror films.
Featured Photo: Bill Skarsgaard terrifies as Pennywise in “It”. WARNER BROS. PICTURES.