When those creepy clowns started surfacing all over the map last year, you had to know this one was coming.
Stephen King’s ‘It’, adorned with a pretty famous and VERY demonic clown, isn’t the most terrifying adaptation of the author’s work – that title would still rest with ‘The Shining’ – but it is one of the more effective. This film sets its tone….not surprisingly, an extremely dark one….very early, and never lets off the gas.
A little bit ‘Stand By Me’, a touch of Freddy Kruger and a heaping helping of trademark King horror, ‘It’ is somehow a someWHAT endearing coming-of-age tale that got sideswiped by an unrelenting nightmare. It’s not 100% faithful to the novel, but it should be close enough to keep King’s fans happy. And if you never did read the book? Geez, those who don’t know what’s coming will indeed be in for one scary sit.
The tale begins with the disappearance of six year-old Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), who vanishes down a storm drain in a town that has a missing-persons rate six times the national average. Set during the 1980’s, abuse of all kinds runs rampant in Derry, Maine, and the only thing to see at the local theatre is ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 5’. Suffice to say, it’s a spooky town.
Searching for Georgie are his older brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and his misfit middle-school pals who calls themselves the Losers Club. And while, like many kids, they have to deal with awful bullies and a few rotten parents, UNlike many kids, these children have to sidestep a monster known as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), a shape-shifting demon who can assume the appearance of whatever is most frightening to his victim.
‘It’ has its fair share of “jump” scares, but director Andy Muschetti finds the real goods in his production design; I can’t think of a film that so effectively uses locations and decrepit set pieces to get under an audience’s skin. Similar to some of Spielberg’s sharp work, this movie creates a distinctive look and feel and manages to ride it from start to finish. When it comes to solid horror fare, this team ain’t clowning around.