Director: Andy Muschietti
Writers: Chase Palmer (screenplay by), Cary Joji Fukunaga (screenplay by)
Stars: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard
Plot: In the summer of 1989, a group of bullied kids band together to destroy a shapeshifting monster, which disguises itself as a clown and preys on the children of Derry, their small Maine town.
Running Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 85% Audience 84%
Why I Watched It: It’s a horror film and it got very good to great reviews and of course I knew the source material.
Random Thoughts: Yes I saw the mini series and yes because I’m of a certain age I actually saw it when it aired on TV, I watched both parts and yes it scared me Tim Curry was the standout. I liked the first part with the kids a lot better than the second part as them as adults so I was hopeful the movie could do it justice. It is very Stephen King, all his troupes are there and the book is massive.
What I Liked: They nailed the tone on this, it’s not campy, it’s scary and it really takes advantage of people’s fear of Clowns which as grown since the first one. Kudos to Bill Skarsgard cause following Tim Curry is tough but to his credit he went a different way and he’s scary as hell. What I like is that very time he shows up there is not only tension but unease.
The amazing thing about It is they basically do all of this with an unknown young cast and all of them are good, I really liked Sophia Lillis, she’s the only girl and her backstory is terrible and he nailed it, she’s someone to watch. Jaeden Lieberher is very solid he’s basically the lead and has a lot of heavy lifting to do. All in all the young cast held there own.
The best thing the film does here and credit goes to director Andy Muschietti he does a nice balance of fleshing out the character so that we had stakes we like these kids so the horror and the threat works, it’s creepy as hell. They took the set up of Goonies but made it a horror film.
What I Didn’t Like: It’s too long, there’s no reason for this film to be 2 hours and 15 minutes, the side story of the bullies and the adults in this not only drag the story down but really are we meant to believe there’s not one decent adult in Derry? Also these bullies here, which by the way is not only a cliche in horror films now it’s become a crutch, these bullies are insane I mean their using knives and lighters, that kind of goes beyond being a bully. Also I did not care for the implied incest in a sub plot, it’s not needed. That’s one thing Stephen King does and I wish directors when they get it to film would take out, why oh why do we need human villains when we have monsters, and the adult villain here are almost cartoon villains they’re so board. We’re here for Pennywise the monster clown I don’t need terrible parents and bullies.
The use of CGI here hurts Pennywise, I think he worked so much better when it was Bill Skarsgard, if you rewatch the film just notice how much scarier it is when it’s his performance, the CGI Clown takes you out of the film. If they did it practical it would have been so much more effective. Sometimes director go CGI cause you can do more but it takes the human element out and that’s what really works in horror, the more it feels real the more it scares you, the performance of Penny wise is something that gets under your skin when they go the CGI route it feels like a video game.
Final Thoughts: I didn’t love it but it’s a solid horror film and a good adaptation of King’s book, for me it was too long but the performances by the main cast were very good.