Friday, February 9, 2018

Movie Review: It (2017)

It (2017) directed by Andy Muschietti

The town of Derry, Maine, is plagued by the disappearances of children in 1988. We see one of the abductions at the very beginning of the movie. Georgie Denbrough gets pulled down a storm drain by a malevolent clown hiding in the sewer. Georgie's middle-school brother Bill is obsessed with finding his brother, which doesn't help his already outsider status in the cliquish community. He runs afoul of school bully Henry, but a bunch of other boys and one girl are also on the outs with the bully and the school population in general. They band together to spend their summer trying to solve the mystery of what's happening to the kids. And avoid the bully. Since the story is based on a Stephen King novel, things are bound to get more horrible before they get any better.

The malevolent force (the "It" of the title) comes to town every 27 years, as is discovered by the library nerd in the group. The history isn't very detailed but has enough clues to point to the terror and where it might be located. The friends have to muster the nerve to confront It, hoping to bring back Georgie and the other missing kids.

The cast of young actors are uniformly great in their roles. Their characters are mostly well developed (one or two of them get little screen time) and are believable as early teens. They use foul language a lot more than is believable but that's a fault of the script, not the performers. The handful of adults in the movie are good enough; Bill Skarsgaard as Pennywise the Clown (the main manifestation of "It") is very good.

As compared to the television miniseries, this film comes out well. The miniseries blends a modern day story with the "27 years earlier" story, depriving the early story of drama since viewers know all the kids survive to fight another day. The film only tells the earlier story and the end credits hint at a "chapter two" movie. Since the movie did phenomenally well at the box office, a sequel is certain. The special effects in the movie are naturally better than a twenty-year old TV miniseries. The scares are a little bit better in the movie. The movie looks even better by comparison.

I might make the effort to see "chapter two" in the theaters when it comes out. Recommended for horror fans, especially of the Stephen King variety.

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