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It (2017)
Movie Review by: Will Whalen

It has finally returned 27 years later to feed on the masses. Ironically, in the story of IT, the clown returns every 27 years to Derry and it has been exactly 27 years since the original It miniseries premiered. I never saw the original and I sure am glad I haven’t. I’ve always infamously heard about the It novel and Tim Curry’s Pennywise but knowing next to nothing about the actual story of It, made this experience so much better and even more terrifying.

It is directed by Andy Muschietti and stars Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis and many others. As you may know, It is the story about a clown who appears in the very haunting town of Derry, Maine and starts hunting children. The Losers Club, a group of unpopular kids, form together to try and fight this evil clown.

Like I said, I never read the book or ever watched the original 1990 version of It but I was glad to know nothing about either going in because this big screen adaptation of It, well, I absolutely loved this movie. From beginning to end, from the horror to the comedic elements from The Losers Club, It is now one of my favorite Stephen King adaptations and to me, is one of the best.

The Losers Club themselves are enough to make this movie great. Take away the horror and Pennywise and these kids are enough to take this movie where it needs to go. However, then it wouldn’t be It but it sure would be a great time.
The performances are excellent across the board but the standout here is, without a doubt, Finn Wolfhard, who just had his big breakout performance as Mike from Stranger Things barely a year ago. He’s, without a doubt, the funniest thing about this film and steals every scene he’s in. He was the kid with the “mouth” and every line he said had the theater in an uproar of laughter and was always perfectly timed. Although he was my favorite, don’t let me deter you away from the other kids in this film, who are all excellent characters, hilarious, and great young actors.
What makes all of these kids so great is how well written they are. They’re not like Hollywood type of kids, they’re real kids. They talk, cuss, say nasty things about each other’s moms like real kids, and that’s something I loved here. Another thing they did really well is that they didn’t spend too much time on any certain kid. They don’t go into too much of their home lives unless it deliberately has to do with their fears that Pennywise feeds off of, which, to me, is brilliant and an excellent choice. 

The Losers Club are awesome and have the spotlight but that spotlight is grabbed and dragged straight into the sewers when the dancing clown himself, Pennywise, is on screen. Bill Skarsgård as this evil entity that is Pennywise is absolutely perfect. From the portrayal, to the look of him, he’ll have you gripping your seat and constantly waiting to see what he’ll do next. You can also tell how into this character Skarsgård was and masterfully crafted himself into him. He feeds off these kids’ biggest fears, which provided for some amazing and jaw dropping scenes. The makeup and design of him are what real nightmares are made of, and anyone that is scared of clowns will be horrified by It.

Now let’s talk about the mastermind behind the vision of It and that’s Andy Muschietti. He helmed this adaptation of the infamous novel almost too well. He managed to show just enough of the kids, just enough of Pennywise, and did an absolutely amazing job at capturing the town of Derry. Like I said, I never read It but I have read another novel by Stephen King that happens to take place in the town of Derry as well and that is his book, Insomnia. Like It, it’s one of his longest novels and Derry in this is pitch perfect to how I pictured it, that it kind of weirded me out.
Muschietti did a fantastic job at directing the film and creating some chilling and fantastic scenes. His framing and shots that he crafted were far better than I could’ve hoped for. However, a lot of that had to do with the phenomenal cinematography that gave this film the exact look it needed to have that gave it a truly chilling vibe. He also had some help with some incredible set pieces that had me cowering in my seat. 

As for problems, I thought, at times, it was just a bit bouncy. Just the way it would shift scenes and near the end, it felt like they tried to rush to the climax. These are mostly just nitpicks but if I had to pinpoint a certain thing, that would be it. There’s also a few things that were never really completely explained, but it was just little things. Like “But what about this and what happened with that?”. You know, little things like that but none of which were very integral to the film. They’re honestly just nitpicks because I had very few problems with this film and I loved every minute of it.

It is one of the best horror films in years and has earned its place as one of my new favorite King film adaptations. The kids in this film are consistently hilarious, Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise is terrifying, and Andy Muschetti makes an eerie and beautifully scary film that I can’t wait to see again. I also can’t wait for the already confirmed Chapter 2. You’ll float too… with excitement after you see this film.

I’m going to give It

4 out of 5 stars.