Review: It (2017)

Fig.1 It (2017) Movie Poster

In 1986, Stephen King's It was first published and was told through two narratives, which alternated between each other - one being focused on a group of kids from the 1950s, who refer to themselves as The Losers Club, and the other showing those same characters when they're 30 years older in the 1980s, and how each of them have "moved on" from what happened when they were young. In 1990, there was an American/Canadian adaptation that was in the form of a mini-series. That is an adaptation that has gained a cult following primarily due to Tim Curry's brilliantly haunting portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Unlike that mini-series, this latest retelling focuses purely on the children, but excludes the adult storyline and has the children set in the 1980s, as opposed to the 1950s.

Fig.2 Sewer Scene

Without doubt, it is the chemistry within the Losers Club that make this an enjoyable watch. Each character has their own personality and reason for the audience to feel sympathetic towards them. They all contrast each other well, leading to some clever and often hilarious camaraderie. It is unfortunate, however, that a couple of them don't have too much to do and can be quickly forgotten, but do eventually have their own purpose. Sophia Lillis's performance as Beverley Marsh is the stand out as she as able to demonstrate the right level of emotion for the relevant scenes. We understand her and are able to relate to her struggle in adapting to the next phase of her life. It is the character of Richie Tozier, played by Finn Wolfhard, who brings the most  laughs due to his unbelievable quick wit and believable vulgarity in what he says. This is something that is treated correctly, as they all speak in a way that 14/15-year olds would, regardless of how impolite they are. Even more extreme dialogue is said by the bully, Henry Bowers (Played by Nicholas Hamilton), as he says things that are very offensive, but feel true to his personality and give the audience more reasoning to dislike him.

Fig.3 The Losers Club

As previously mentioned, Tim Curry's performance in the 1990 mini-series is what makes it so memorable, so it would always be hard for another actor give their own interpretation without there being a comparison. Whereas the mini-series was quite light and cheesy, the tone here is much darker and better suiting to the novel. This means that while Bill Skarsgard's Pennywise is less like the clown he appears as, he is much more frightening - his darkness is more apparent. Unfortunately, it is too reliant on jump scares, meaning that it doesn't leave much of lasting impression. While there is a build-up of tension in moments, it concludes with a loud noise accompanied with a sudden image. An attempt is made to create startling imagery, but it is used too rarely, consequently meaning that no moment stands out. The famous sewer scene (Seen in fig.1) is the most frightening scene throughout, as it relies on our own expectations due to how well-known and engraved in pop-culture it has become. It sets the tone, but nothing follows it that creates a similar impression.  

Fig.4 Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Played by Bill Skarsgard)

If you saw a Comedy, and came out of it realising that it only made you laugh a little a couple of times, it would be fair to say that it didn't do it's job. While It isn't particularly scary, the chemistry between the Losers club is what carries this film and gives a very nostalgic feel for the 1980s, due to it's similarities with A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and, another Stephen King adaptation, Stand By Me (1986).

Illustration List:
Fig.1 It (2017) Movie Poster - (Accessed 18/09/2017)

Fig.2 Sewer Scene - (Accessed 18/09/2017)

Fig.3 The Losers Club - (Accessed 18/09/2017)

Fig.4 Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Played by Bill Skarsgard) - - (Accessed 18/09/2017)


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