Saturday, September 9, 2017

Movie Review: It (2017)

The latest iteration of the horror classic creates a vivid sense of terror while telling a heartfelt tale of youth while reinvigorating the iconic image of Pennywise from our generations most popular horror writer. Stephen King's book is a very long, yet great, read. I'm only about three hundred pages in and enjoying it more than most books. The massive amount of information is compressed nicely in this film that serves as a first part of the story, the childhood part. The liberties they take only add to the horror and keep the pacing moving somewhat swiftly though at times it felt stalled and the scares don't compare to other prominent films in the genre. I found the movie very entertaining and I think it will grow on me but there were certainly flaws that I would like to see improved upon if there is a sequel. With positive reviews and a crowded theater, I think it's likely that we will get to see the second half in a few years.

Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) struggles with a stutter especially after he sends his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) out with a boat and the boy goes missing. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is the new kid in school and has to deal with the ruthless bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). He retreats to the library but not before awkwardly blushing in front of his crush Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis). Beverly has to deal with own set of bullies including her abusive father. Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) works on the sheep farm with his grandfather bolting the animals in the head but he's haunted by the images of his parents burning behind a door. Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) is the loudmouth who is skeptical of the hauntings. Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff) studies for his bat mitzvah when a horrific image comes to life.

The kids bond over their shared fear of the bullies and the mysterious clown. Ben Hanscom has taken over the role of young historian and explains the history of Derry, Maine and mysterious disappearances. Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) doesn't seem to be hunting the kids so much as scaring them and feeding off of their fears. There are some exceptionally hideous forms that It takes like dead girl in the sewer when It attacks a bully and an infectious leper that haunts germophobe, Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer). The boys investigate the source of the attacks only to find Pennywise bursting from the projector screen. They trace it back to a house but when they go in, Bill, Richie, and Eddie are confronted by horrors and they almost don't make it out if it weren't for Beverly's quick thinking. 

The group splits up when Richie is so angry about nearly being killed yet Bill is still determined to search for Georgie. In the meantime, It recruits Henry to his side by giving him a knife to kill his father. When Beverly's father attacks her, she fights back but once she knocks him out, she's attacked and capture by Pennywise. BIll gathers the gang together to save Beverly once he discovers she's gone. They return to the house and climb down to the sewers below though Henry attacks them. Mike has to fight him off and pushes him down into the pipes. The boys head deeper into the pipe but Stanley becomes lost and is attacked by a creepy image from a picture that has haunted him throughout. The others save him but he's clearly disturbed. They move further into the sewer finding Pennywise's lair where children are floating in the air. Bill confronts the image of Georgie but kills him finally accepting that his little brother has passed. Ben kisses Beverly to bring her out of a trance and recites the poem he gave to her. They all work together to destroy the evil.

It was a very entertaining movie with a nice mix of horror and comedy. Finn Wolfhard's Richie was my favorite with his constant one-liners and adult language, especially when confronted with horror. Jack Dylan Grazer's Eddie compliments Wolfhard's performance while Lillis and Lieberher were great in the lead role. Skarsgård's performance was haunting as well adding to the horror though sometimes it did look cartoonish. This update version exceeds the original and while there are minor pacing issues, I felt overly entertained for pretty much the entire film. This film should help push more horror films into cinema and open up an impressive franchise. 

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