Review of 'It'

it.jpg In the town of Derry, Maine children have been mysteriously disappearing for many years. Years following Bill Denbrough's (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) disappearance he is a member of “The Losers Club”, a group of school misfits. Each member of the group experience mysterious events often featuring a chilling clown calling himself “Pennywise” (Bill SkarsgÃ¥rd) and so unite in their determination to do something about it. Over the years since his brother's disappearance Bill has investigated the history of the town and mapping out the disappearances to form a theory that the events stem from the network of sewers running under Derry. With the adults seemingly unable to physically see the monstrous events unfolding around them it is up to the Losers to track down the evil clown to put an end to It's reign of terror…

I remember seeing the original “It” television series and being more than a bit scared. With this I watched this new film version of the story with not a little bit of trepidation but ended up being disappointed it did not have more of the psychological horror I remember from the television. The secret to a good horror film is to not show too much but here the filmmakers appear not to know that with “Pennywise” completely exposed to daylight within ten minutes of the start of the film, leaving little to the imagination and leaving only visceral scenes of blood, mayhem and creepy creatures to shock from then on in though much of this is fairly tame stuff, though there are exceptions such as the scene with the young woman Beverley Marsh (Sophia Lillis) being drenched in gallons of blood in her step-father's bathroom, yeah, that is pretty hard core but, ultimately, shocking rather than frightening. This is par for the course for much of the film and so leaves the viewer feeling more often grossed out than scared.

The performances are convincing though the characters are completely over the top: The cruel, over protective father striking fear into his daughter; A mother refusing to take all but the most passing notice of her obsessed son; The ruthless psychopathic school bully who seems willing to commit murder with few qualms; All adults of the town seeming to care little for the repeated disappearance of their children (other than the occasional “missing” poster). It is into this surreal world that we focus in on the terror of these socially outcast young people who can see the reality while those around them are oblivious.

The reveal at the end will likely surprise those not familiar with the story but to others it makes some sort of sense at the confusion of this just-over 2 hour (ie, short) film supposedly telling the complete story of “It”. No, I will not reveal the surprise but needless to say, it is what you would expect from Hollywood though it does nicely offer a final, chilling, shock.

Fans of the original book and television mini-series may be disappointed but “It” does offer a few scares that will keep film-goers awake though ultimately it is an unremarkable horror flick that fails to satisfy relying on blood and gore rather than the terror of the mind.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2019-01-01

Directed by: Andy Muschietti

Studio: New Line Cinema

Year: 2017

Length: 135 minutes

Genre: Horror

Other reviewed films by Andy Muschietti: