A faithful adaptation that will leave fans salivating for more.
Not even the flu could prevent me from watching my childhood trauma come to life in a new adaptation. The hype was massive, everyone was excited and yet pensively cautious – they've seen this hype before (A Nightmare on Elm Street remake) and have been let down. Director Andy Muschietti, the man who gave us Mama - which was quite good and suspenseful, had heavy pressure to deliver, especially after taking over from original director Cary Fukunaga (who is credited as a co-writer).
It sounds harsh but if he screwed this one up, he could kiss his Hollywood career goodbye. The verdict? Well horror fans worldwide loved It but is it as good as everyone is making it out to be?
Set between 1988 and 1989 in the town of Derry - children are disappearing one by one. When a group of bullied kids dubbed 'The Losers Club' begin to be attacked and harassed by a demon clown, they realise It is behind the disappearances and decide to battle IT to save their town and themselves.
Will moviegoers be pleased? Yes. Staying quite true to the novel – for the most part, the performances, the story structure, the mood, the creepiness is all here. I wouldn't exactly say it is scary but more creepy and intriguing which is what was needed.
A film lives and dies by its performances and here they are outstanding. The kids were almost perfect casting – each one just as impressive as the next. Much like with the mini-series, it'd be unfair to say one was more of a standout than the other, although I will question Jaeden Lieberher's (Bill Denbrough) hairdo which didn't look like an 80s style to me but that's just me being picky. Their friendship and kinship was believable and it definitely made for an easy watch.
Henry Bowers, played to perfection by Australian actor Nicholas Hamilton, is what we all hoped the character would be – sadistic and psycho!! Anytime he appeared, it made for uncomfortable viewing but simply because of how much of a bully he is.
And then there's Pennywise The Dancing Clown... What can you say but WOW!! Bill Skarsgård does the character so much justice, it's almost as close to perfection as you can get. While Tim Curry brought more of a comedic scariness to Pennywise, Bill went the opposite and was just a monster – plain and simple. Kind of reminds me of Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker, except it was more of a demonic Joker. It's a performance that will be remembered for decades to come.
Onto the SFX. Most of the time the effects worked to perfection but sometimes it didn't look as convincing, one scene in particular. This is just a small thing that doesn't take away from from IT's overall aura.
And how could the music score not get a mention, it's truly amazing. Kudos to Benjamin Wallfisch for going above and beyond - it was at times full of warmth and then go directly to anxiety driven horror.
It is an adaptation that will please fans and moviegoers alike. It stays pretty true to the novel, the performances are amazing, Pennywise is incredible to watch and the set design is remarkable. Definitely recommended. Looking forward to seeing if the sequel will stand as tall.
Written by Matthew.