IT strikes fear into a new generation of horror fans

IT strikes fear into a new generation of horror fans

Bill Skarsgård does not clown around in his role as Pennywise.


Runtime: 129 minutes

Age restriction: 16HVL

Special features: Deleted scenes

Reviewed by: Gareth Drawbridge

Review made possible by: Empire Entertainment

One of the most frightening and diabolical literary characters ever created has, once again, come to life on the screen, in the 2017 film adaption of IT.

Based on the best-selling novel by Stephen King (aka the Master of Horror), IT is not a remake of the popular 1990 miniseries but a fresh carcass of terror which will certainly cause some people (this reviewer included) to steer clear of storm drains.

Just as the 1990 version terrified audiences across the world (and is probably the main reason why there are so many people between the ages of 30 and 45 who suffer from coulrophobia – the fear of clowns), this adaption has already frightened an entire new generation of cinema-goers and, since its release, IT has become the highest-grossing horror film of all time.

For centuries, the small town of Derry, Maine, has been plagued by devastating tragedies and a shocking number of child murders and disappearances, which seem to occur every 27 years. Without any explanation the pattern continues to repeat itself and, in October 1988, after little Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) goes missing while playing with his boat, a new cycle of killings begins.

The following summer, seven friends – whose biggest worry is avoiding the sadistic town bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) – uncover the horrific truth behind Derry’s morbid history and, in doing so, they come face to face with their worst fears in the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). Pennywise is not a man but an unknown creature and the embodiment of every child’s worst nightmares. Having uncovered IT’s lair, the Losers Club – Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer), Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) and Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff)- set out to kill IT, before IT can feast on them.

While IT does remain faithful to the novel, director Andy Muschietti has used his artistic licence with several elements and events from the book. Despite these changes, he has also included several scenes which,  unfortunately, weren’t included in the 1990 version – but, in all fairness, there probably wasn’t enough screen time left considering how much the film-makers managed to get in. Some of the scenes included in the 2017 adaption include Henry killing his father and Eddie being chased by the leaper at the abandoned house on Neibolt Street.

IT is a dark film which focuses on the loss of innocence, mortality and deep-seated childhood fears.

Since its release there has been a friendly debate (at least no punches have been thrown as far as this reviewer knows) amongst fans as to which version of Pennywise is better – Tim Curry (1990) or Bill Skarsgård (2017). This is a difficult decision as both actors interpreted the role differently. With his maniacal laugh and contortionist-like movements, Skarsgård’s character comes across as sinister yet childlike at the same time, while Curry’s performance is definitely more menacing and, ultimately, far more terrifying.

The 2017 adaption of IT has been referred to as Chapter One and fans will be thrilled to know that a second film is being planned which will focus on the Losers Club as adults.

IT is available on DVD for fans to add to their collection. With its deleted scenes, this horror will keep viewers on the edge of their seats as they wait for the second instalment.

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