Reviewed by James Reilly and Rohan Angus
James Reilly – Student Pages Entertainment Journalist/Film Critic
This film has divided me emotionally ever since I walked out the cinema. I have never loved and hated a film this much before. There are moments in this film I love, damn right love. Yet, alas, there are things I hate. Things I think are damn near terrible. Unfortunately most of the film hinges on the parts I did not like – Pennywise.
Pennywise is one scary clown. Parts of him in the film work very, VERY well. There were some really interesting and creative choices that I loved – however there was a greater deal of stuff with him I hated. This films choice of horror did not work for me and unfortunately this film is classed as a horror movie. The majority of the scares did not really hit me, stylistically there was some editing choices that really did not work and CGI wise there was some truly noticeably poor effects. When the film was trying to scare me – it didn’t. Its use of editing and effects worked very much against it. However its when the film is not in its CGI frazzled state, that this film shines.
The ‘Losers’ are great and their chemistry springs off the screen. It pains me this is the last time we will see them in a fully fledged film as just like Stranger Things, I could watch these kids for hours. Also its here that Pennywise shines, when its just the actor, the make-up and role – he’s excellent. If the film concentrated more on this than overabundant use of CGI-heavily-edited effects, this film could have been a classic.
Stephen King has not had a lot of luck with his adaptations, especially in recent years, however It does mark what could be the start of a great two chapter story. While I had major issues with the horror in this film, the film as a whole I enjoyed and I can’t wait to see what they do with the sequel. I wish I could love the horror of the film more, considering it is a horror movie, but when this film does work it works very well. Its just a shame it can’t hit the heights it deserve.
Follow James at @JamesisGinger
Rohan Angus – Student Pages Entertainment Journalist
Andy Muschietti delivers one, if not the, best films of the year with his adaptation of ‘It’, a horrifying tale from the dark mind of Stephen King. The storyline follows ‘The Losers’ Club’, a group of children haunted by a demonic presence that takes the form of a clown – one who hunts children by abusing their biggest and most terrifying fears. Once learning of their relatable nightmares, the group bind together to courageously dispose Derry of the callous entity.
There are endless aspects which are executed perfectly, one being the admirable group of young heroes which equal the quality and presence of Pennywise. Each member of ‘The Losers’ Club’ instantly gains the audience’s backing due to their underdog tone and surprisingly excellent performances. Although they were all easy to root for, the stand out is surely Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard whose brilliant comedic timing kept audiences from hiding further into their sweaters.
Another asset was the relentless pacing which plummets audiences into an intense wait for more visual torment – a massive benefactor to creating the truly awful atmosphere. The production dives straight into the gore-filled deep-end, mirroring the start of the novel which describes the first encounter with the disturbing Pennywise, and poor Georgie’s gruesome end. Following the opening, we are introduced to the characters through their first meeting with their own unique ideas of fear – all of which are petrifyingly gripping including ‘The Leper’ sequence.
Bill Skarsgård exceeds expectations with his creepy rendition of the dancing clown. Everything about the villain was spotless from the costume and makeup design to the eerie voice acting of Skarsgård, however, the dialogue for Pennywise produced many laughs which is something I felt he could have done without. Although it had the effect of illustrating the red-nosed devil as a pure maniac, it also made him a lot more bearable for viewers – never the less the drooling maniac was exceptional. There were so many segments that contributed to the ominous tone, each playing their part. One of the aspects would be the thunderous sound effects that are crossed over with the presence of the clown, creating something severely sinister.
‘It’ is a masterpiece from start to finish with little faults, bringing the greatest horror of the year which is fuelled by the enthralling Pennywise along with a subtle comedy undertone. The cast were exceptional within their roles, with stand-out performances coming from Finn Wolfhard and Bill Skarsgård. As only the first half of the novel is covered within the production, a second chapter is a certainty and will most likely cover the return of the cruellest clown to terrorise ‘The Losers’ Club’. As illustrated in the book, Pennywise returns 27 years later to find those who bested him. I will be more than welcoming of a sequel, and certainly welcoming of the Skarsgård/Pennywise combination.
Bill Skarsgård was not allowed to see any of the cast until he was filming, in doing so Muschietti intended to get the best reaction from Pennywise’s victims.
Skarsgård stated when taking on the role that he would not attempt to adopt any of Tim Curry’s performance from the original mini-series.
The film broke the record for the most viewed trailer within 24 hours, reaching a staggering 197 million views.