Monday, January 22, 2018

Film Review: It (2017)

It (Review)
United States/2017
Format Viewed for Review: VUDU
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

" of the most exciting and enjoyable horror movies of the decade so far."

In Derry, Maine, a group of kids known as the "Losers' Club" fight against a shapeshifting monster who has been terrorizing their city for generations...

It, also known as It: Chapter One, is an adaptation of Stephen King's It. The film follows the Losers' Club, which consists of its original members, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), and Stan, and their new friends, Bev (Sophie Lillis), Ben, and Mike. After the death of his younger brother, Georgie, Bill and his friends begin seeing horrific visions of their greatest fears orchestrated by a shapeshifting entity known as "It" or, in his clown form, Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). The kids eventually band together and try to fight their worst fears, but it's harder than it seems. There's no point in ruining this classic story—you've either read the extremely popular book, watched the original adaptation, or you've already watched this. Anyway, the climax was a mixed bag for me—I liked it, don't get me wrong, but it was a little underwhelming. The ending was ultimately good and it left me excited for the next chapter.

It was an incredibly fun experience. It has something for every type of horror fan: atmosphere, suspense, violence, practical effects, eerie visuals, and plenty of jump scares. And, it's all blended so perfectly. The suspense helps create some spectacular jump-scares while the practical effects—and even the computer effects—create some great visuals. Of course, the story is also stellar. This film only focuses on the Losers' Club during their young years. The characters are as interesting as ever and their chemistry shines. Pennywise's presence isn't overused, either. In fact, he could've been used more and it wouldn't have been gratuitous. There some characters that don't get the time to shine, though, like Mike and Stan. At one point, the film feels like it skips over some necessary scenes—it feels like something is missing. The length can be an issue as well, especially since most of the 'scares' use a very similar formula. These aren't the worst issues in the world, but it does spoil the experience a bit.

The acting was superb, though. Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, and Sophie Lillis performed very well—an impressive teenage cast. Bill Skarsgård was superb as Pennywise, perfectly filling the shoes of Tim Curry. The film was shot beautifully. It's obvious from the visual presentation that this was not a low budget horror film, like most in the genre these days. (I'm not saying that's a bad thing by the way, just that this film has a bit more polish than the usual.) The music was also great—eerily whimsical. The screenplay was written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman; Andy Muschietti served as director. I enjoyed the direction this team took. It does get a little too cramped in the third act, like they ran out of room to fit everything they wanted, but it worked. I'm excited to see what Chapter Two holds.

Overall, It is a fantastic horror experience. It's one of the most exciting and enjoyable horror movies of the decade so far. From its suspense to its jump scares, it's ominous atmosphere to its visuals, and its characters to its now timeless plot, this is an all-around entertaining horror film—aside from a few minor issues.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and some gore.

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