The perfect horror film enters the darkened rooms of local cinemas this weekend and It should slice off the biggest chunk of change of the year thus far for a horror film. The movie’s screenplay, based on a book by the master of sick and twisted stories Steven King, is simply called It! The production proves very screen worthy, nicely acted and directed and hits the target audience on the bulls-eye. If terror and scary is your cup of tea, It is looking for you.
Evil has returned to Derry and it’s hungry. It, a wicked clown, calls himself Pennywise and preys on young children. He has already claimed his first victim, Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), and has set his sights on those easily lured into his domain. But, when a band of seven middle schooler misfits find a clue to the treacherous fiend, maybe, just maybe, the devilish clown has met his match.
So beings a game of wits and daring as Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), Georgie’s brother, gangs up with Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Ben Hascom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), Eddie Kaspbrack (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff) to hunt down Pennywise.
Taking the script and making It winner, relatively new director Andy Muschietti moves his film along at a nice pace. The book like the screenplay opens with a cringing scene and it’s framed with frightening detail. He makes sure you get the personalities and the peer pressure by bullies of the seven protagonists, before leading you into the meat of the story. Then Muschietti starts to up the game as each hero finds their connection to the creepy clown and putting it all together for a violent, chilling, and eerie thriller. And, taking liberties with the usual scare tactics, he gets his target audience set up for a bloody finale.
There have been so many “horror” flicks it has become the most popular genre and for filmmakers, a “cash cow”. While the film It has been made before as a TV release and later a sequel for the movie theater, this remake tops any of the previous tries. Using some seamless CGI, special effects, scary locations and make-up, the movie becomes a horror fan’s delight. The gore and evilness open and close the film with a lot of ghastly scenes in between.
The strongest thread that makes It a winner is the cast of young upcoming actors. Filmmakers are getting amazing talent at the teen and pre-teen level for films of recent release like Dafne Keen in Logan, Samara Lee in Annabelle: Creation, McKenna Grace in Gifted and Jaeden Lieberher (also lead actor as Bill in It) in The Book of Henry to name a few. Now add to the actor pool Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff of It. The group is so talented they make the audience immediate believers in their character and the task they are determined to complete.
It has been rated R by the MPAA for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language. Some of the violence may be a bit much for immature pre-teens as it gets very gruesome and disturbing. The scare factor out of 10 being the highest, comes in at 7.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A far better representation of Stephen King’s book.
Additional Film Information:
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Bill Skarsgard, Nicholas Hamilton, Jackson Robert Scott
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Genre: Horror, Drama, Terror
MPAA Rating: R for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language
Running Time: 2 hrs. 15 min.
Release Date: September 8, 2017
Distributed by: New Line Cinema
Released in: Standard and Dolby Cinema where available
The comments within this review are the critic’s expressed opinions.