Mittwoch, 18. Oktober 2017

IT - Movie Review

 Title: IT
Running Time: 135 min
Director: Andy Muschietti
Writer: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
Starring: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton

Stephen King's books have been the source material for many film makers for a long time. Just two month ago, I reviewed the cinematic attempt to bring his "The Dark Tower" novels to the big screen. This time one of his most famous characters, Pennywise the endlessly creepy clown, makes a comeback in this 21st century update of an old horror classic.
2017's "IT" isn't a shot-for-shot remake of the original, but rather approaches the story from a few different angles. Firstly, the story is set in the late 1980's, updating the film for younger audiences and riding on the current nostalgia wave of that particular time-period. Secondly, the adults take a back seat and the movie focusses solely on the kids' perspective.
As a result, the success of the film rests on the shoulders of an incredibly young ensemble. Fortunately, this group of child actors seems to have had a lot of fun on set, because their chemistry translates to the big screen. Additionally, each of them (with maybe the exception of Wyatt Oleff's character) is essential to some part of the film, be it thematically, story-wise or concerning the atmosphere. Finn Wolfhard (hot of "Stranger Things") shines as the comic relief guy, while Jaeden Lieberher and Sophia Lillis carry the more dramatic parts of the film. But also Jeremy Ray Taylor and Jack Dylan Grazer bring a sincere genuinity to the Losers' Club. These guys seem like a real group of friends and at a few points in the film we can see them simply hanging out. It gives the movie a coming-of-age/adventure film vibe.
Don't be fooled, however. "IT" does earn its R-rating for 'violence, bloody images, and language'. On the one hand, the kids cuss and swear, which doesn't only add to the authenticity, but is also good for some laughs. On the other hand, we have, of course, the stuff that every horror fan came for. Because 'It' turns into everything that you fear, and so you get everything from torn-off limbs to waves of blood, plaque-infested hobos, and creepy little kids. It all unfolds in traditional horror movie fashion. And of course, there is the creature's favorite form: The gruesome clown Pennywise, played excellently by Bill Skarsgård. His portrayal is in no way inferior to Tim Curry's. And although some old-school film buffs might enjoy the 90's practical effects over the CGI touch-ups this new version gets at points, there's absolutely no denying that Skarsgård nails the the part when it's just him in make-up. His smile is super creepy, his eyes are insanely big and he barely ever blinks. It's a genius performance. 
Some of the main character's parents also come in as secondary villains, filling up the small town of Derry with threats left and right. Nicholas Hamilton joins in as well as the violent bully Henry. While he already had the most punchable face in the "Captain Fantastic" cast, here it is complemented through a mullet in such a way that it gives Jack "Joffrey" Gleeson a run for his money*.
The only real problem with the film is that it goes on for a little too long. Once the kids have forged out a plan of how to overcome the blood-thirsty antagonist, the viewer gets the idea of how things will play out. The script however throws in a few obstacles and complications here and there, that don't really add to the experience as a whole. Instead of creating extra tension, it makes the finale drag a tiny little bit.
But apart from that, "IT" is a really entertaining ride that proves once again, that horror works best when it is paired with elements of other genres. The fun sequences in which you get to know the gang, make it all the more impactful when the tide turns and their lifes are in danger. Stepping into the territory of an 80's coming-of-age drama and yet being more brutal than its predecessor, 2017's "IT" will leave you curious about what's next. And since the movie hasn't touched on the grown-up portion of the story yet, you can be damn sure that you will find out...

For Fans Of:
IT (1990)
Stranger Things (TV Series 2016- )
Stand By Me (1986)
Super 8 (2012)
E.T. (1982)
Gremlins (1984)
Scream (1996)
Krampus (2015)
The Goonies (1985)

Click Here To Watch Trailer!

*Fun Fact: Game of Thrones actor Jack Gleeson and my humble self actually share the same date of birth!

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