The Tartan

Stephen King's IT (2017) Movie Review

Posted on: October 9, 2017
Tags: Movie review
Pennywise the Dancing Clown staring Manically at the camera

By Nathan Brown

   Recently, a new adaptation of Stephen King’s IT made its way to cinemas on September 8th, 2017. The film has exploded in popularity and shows no signs of stopping. Every year, studios churn out horror movies that tend to leave the audience unsatisfied. This year is different, however, because IT left viewers speechless. Now, if that title sounds familiar to you, it’s because this movie is actually a remake. The original came out as a T.V. miniseries back in 1990. While revered as a horror classic, the original has become cheesy and lost most of its scare value. This is where the remake comes in.

   The 2017 version, directed by Andy Muschietti, stars Bill Skarsgard as the titular monster: Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Many people doubted how he’d perform in the role that Tim Curry defined over 20 years ago. However, Skarsgard came out on top and proved everyone wrong. He took the role in strides and turned it into a performance that will stand the test of time. While Curry took a more joyful look for Pennywise, Skarsgard and the makeup department went for a more sinister look, and they nailed it. Curry’s Pennywise was always thought of as terrifying, but in a severely dated way. Skarsgard’s Pennywise is truly terrifying on every level.This new version also decided to recast the child-actors, and they couldn’t have selected better choices. While relatively obscure, these child-actors have the talent to carry this film and make the audience care about them. The film star Jaeden Lieberher is Ben Denbrough, a young child who suffers from a stutter and is haunted by the death of his little brother Georgie who was killed by Pennywise. Jeremy Ray Taylor stars as Ben Hanscom, a new kid who often finds himself ridiculed by the town bullies. Then we have Sophia Lillis who portrays Beverly Marsh, a young girl who suffers from an abusive father, and is the only girl in the group. Together, these three lead the losers’ club, a group formed by Bill, Beverly, and Ben, along with their friends Richie, Mike, Eddie, and Stanley, to defeat Pennywise and stop him from kidnapping and killing the town’s children.

   Without spoiling much of the plot, Beverly, Bill, and Ben start out as having small individual friend groups. The three then bring everyone together and provide a sense of unity in the assemblage. Pennywise happens to be a shapeshifter, and appears to each of the children as their darkest fear, in order to feed off their fear before he kills them. However, he takes on the form of a clown when appearing to the children as a group. Together, the children must overcome their fears to kill Pennywise. If they should fail, the entire town’s population of children could lose their lives in the same way that Bill lost his little brother.

   At the time of this review IT has grossed $555,575,232 worldwide and shows no signs of stopping. The film also just passed The Exorcist by becoming the top grossing horror movie of all time, which is impressive because The Exorcist held that record for 44 years.  Another notable feat that IT has acquired more in the month it has been released than The Exorcist grossed in its entire theatrical run.  The film only had a $35 million budget and they were able to make that back and then some to say the least. The way things are going, it wouldn’t be surprising if IT crossed the $1 billion mark by the end of it’s theatrical run.

   Overall, Stephen King’s IT is a perfect choice for this year’s best horror movie. The motion picture features brilliant performances, a terrifying redesign of a role defined 27 years ago, and amazing chemistry between all the kids. This movie is highly recommended to anyone, especially fans of the book, or the 1990 mini-series. While semi-conventional to a seasoned horror fan, IT still provides plenty of scares for those who seek an adrenaline rush. While fairly predictable with some noticeable CGI shortcomings, IT is sure to shock you and leave you with a deep hatred of clowns!