It (2017)

It (2017)


You'll float too.

Bill Skarsgård is It, a being that terrorises seven small town Maine children in this supernatural horror adapted from Stephen King's 1986 novel.... More

When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, seven kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.Hide

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Flicks Review

Setting out its stall within minutes, the child-centric first chapter of It quickly proves unafraid of inflicting gore on innocent kids and boasts a freaking terrifying Pennywise thanks to Bill Skarsgård, whose swift arrival on screen defies typical convention of building up to reveal a horrific entity. Debates will rage about whether he’ll prove as iconic as Tim Curry, whose pancake makeup was all the more effective for its banality in 1990’s otherwise sub-par mini-series, but Skarsgård’s malevolence and awkward physicality are captivatingly chilling whenever he’s onscreen - and even when his presence is merely anticipated.... More

Saving the adult adventures of The Losers Club for another day, this first chapter whips through the source material as a pacey ensemble horror. The film may not have the luxury of letting all of its elements breathe as much as they could, but never feels burdened in juggling its pre-teen protagonists’ smalltown summertime coming-of-age alongside their cat-and-mice struggle against a powerful adversary.

Horror iconography like wolf- and gill-men has been jettisoned in shifting the period setting from the 50s to the 80s, but the scare power of a dead little brother grinning about floating in the sewer or a molested girl’s bathroom sink geysering blood in menstrual metaphor remain undiminished in their effect. As does the pleasure in seeing kids being kids - swearing, boasting, stammering, and wide-eyed gawking their way through their last days of childhood.

Director Andy Muschietti has a great handle on what makes his kids tick on screen, and thankfully resists the impulse to indulge retro Stranger Things tendencies despite the odd glaring pop culture reference. His scares feel contemporary but Muschietti defies dating them through modern conventions, his added set piece scares seamlessly woven into the DNA of King's tale.

The strength of the film lies in its kids - a tough challenge for an adult-focused sequel that’s also going to be robbed of surprise factor by ditching the novel’s leaps back and forth between time periods. Still, let the filmmakers worry about that while letting this superior horror do It’s stuff.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 13 ratings, 6 reviews
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BY Newt superstar

"It" delivers a constant stream of uneasy scares in its lengthy runtime. Whilst a little lengthy, the movie never bores. The scare factor of "It" has been carefully crafted by a great combination of great script as well as the acting chops of Bill Skarsgard and the troupe of child actors.

it is awesome i watched it and it was so awesome i wrote it down in my awesome movies list

BY VaughanP nobody

I went into this movie not expecting much from it, just the light scare but I was pleasantly surprised (or should that be horrified). IT is a great movie, its like The Goonies with a Horror twist. Worth a see, don't over analyse it just enjoy it :-)

BY fairbrother superstar

Ah, Stephen King. The man can write so persuasively, mimicking his characters' inner-thoughts with such sincere veracity, that his stories grip and frighten even as we're consciously thinking "this is so fuggin' stupid". His fantasy and supernatural fiction have led more than one competent film-maker into adaptation quicksand for this very reason: a well-written sentence can take on a life of its own in the readers' head, but you can't film a sentence. Depicted literally, in deluxe Technicolor,... More King's illusions don't bear nearly the same scrutiny that they do on the page. Fanciful notions like Christine the vengeful car, or a mist teeming with giant tentacle-monsters, or Pennywise the spectral jester tend to come off a lot cheesier in moving pictures than they do in print.

The good news is that IT, in it's new big-screen adaptation, slam-dunks the casting. The kids assembled to play the Losers Club are all really good for their roles. We can believe in these kids and like them enough that we don't wanna see anything bad happen to them. Time with them is well-spent.

So it's a shame that, while IT works as small-town pubescent nostalgia with a welcome twist of crass juvenile humor, the horror dimension feels so... well, obvious. Is it scary? Sort of. It's scary because the soundtrack is loud. It's scary because things appear suddenly. And it milks a few decent shivers from how kids are vulnerable and how innately creepy clowns and subterranean spaces are. But it's never scary because we truly believe what we're seeing - rather, we're TOLD "be scared now". The much-touted Pennywise has some real menace in the first half of the film but the more we see of him the less frightening, and less interesting, he becomes. And then, just as we're getting ready to root for the Losers Club to enter into battle with the titular ghoul, out come the overstated "epic" CGI effects to completely obliterate any lingering plausibility the premise had. By the end of the movie we feel less like we're watching a horror film than a Superhero Origins story - in case you can't tell, I definitely do NOT mean that as a compliment.

IT isn't bad - in fits and starts it's pretty effective - but it is pretty much exactly what the trailer promises: a studio's idea of a full-blooded spook flick, with all the good and bad that entails.Hide

In a nutshell? IT delivers the biggest shock by being a really, really good adaptation of a Stephen King book.

Cards on the table? I was never a fan of the 1990 TV mini-series, finding it laughably bad at best, deeply dull at worst. A lot of friends dug Tim Curry’s Pennywise, but the whole affair left me more afraid of bad Stephen King adaptations than clowns.

For me, there have been some great movies based on King stories - The Dead Zone, The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist, Misery,... More Christine, Stand By Me, Firestarter, The Shining - but far more rotten ones - Secret Window, Dreamcatcher, Cujo, Lawnmower Man, Cell, Thinner etc. etc., oh, and, most recently, The Dark Tower.

Andy Muschetti’s second film (after 2013s Mama) takes a solid script, (by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman), and slices King’s novel in chronological half.

Where King’s giant novel flip-flops between childhood flashbacks and the adult present, the movie focuses on the protagonists as youngsters.

The Losers Club are all round great, with Jaeden Lieberher as Bill, Sophia Lillis as Bev, Wyatt Oleff as Stan, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Chosen Jacobs as Mike, Jack Grazer as Eddie, Jackson Scott as Bill’s younger brother Georgie, and Nicholas Hamilton as town bully, Henry.

The entire young cast bring the same youthful warts ‘n’ all honesty to their young characters as the cast of King-inspired Netflix TV hit, Stranger Things. Think, Stand By Me meets an adult horror movie. Gore, humour, thrills, tension, hell IT feels not a zillion-miles from the original Poltergeist.

The biggest change from the source material is moving the time period to the 1980s, but it’s a time beautifully evoked. IT’s a long movie, clocking in at 135-minutes, and I could complain about the over-reliance on jump scares, and Benjamin Wallifisch’s pretty pedestrian score, but those are quibbles more than compensated for by a great cast, superb cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung (seriously, this is the best-looking horror movie in years), and Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, bringing the monster behind the clown-face to the fore.

Oh, and if you like your horror gruesome, then this is one kids-in-peril horror movie that sure ain’t suitable for kids, delivering blood ‘n’ gore, shocks, shivers, jump scares and enough tension to have cinema managers furiously repairing seats torn by nail-clutching patrons.

Like the aforementioned Poltergeist, IT ain’t full on scary, but it is a joy to see a King tale taken so seriously and given the treatment it so richly deserves. Sure, lovers of the book will be annoyed at what’s been left out, and by the screenplay screwing with King’s narrative structure, but hell after so many dire movies cashing in on King’s name, it’s incredibly refreshing to have one this good on all fronts.

That this is Chapter One comes as no big surprise, and whilst we’ll have to wait to 2019 for the sequel, if it’s as good as this first chapter, movie fans, horror fans, and King fans are in for a treat.Hide

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The Press Reviews

  • More successful as a coming-of-age movie than a horror, It still ranks among the better Stephen King adaptations - no small praise indeed. Full Review

  • The real reason IT works is because it takes time with the kids, revelling in their colourful lingo and comradeship as much as their fears. Full Review

  • This is an ensemble smorgasbord of scariness, or maybe a portmanteau of petrification, throwing everything but the haunted kitchen-sink at the audience in the cause of freaking us out. Full Review

  • It is a solid thriller that works best when it is most involved in its adolescent heroes' non-monster-related concerns. Full Review

  • King fans will surely appreciate the clear effort and affection that went into this adaptation, even as it struggles to become more than the sum of its parts. Full Review

  • There's never a scene in IT that wants you to pause and appreciate how creepy it is; instead, those scenes serve to build tension and illuminate what the characters fear. The pacing, visuals, and score are all exquisite. Full Review

  • The film works beautifully as a straight-arrow genre piece, and a portrait of young people taking command of their own destiny. Full Review

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