Genre: Horror / Drama

Running time: 2:15 mins

Reviewing a new movie release from an original screenplay is far easy to approach, as you take it as you see it for the first time.

When the film is something that you hold dear to your memories, you walk into that screening room with some trepidation, as you so want to clutch onto what feelings you had at that time and hope it meets your expectations.

For me, it was the first time I read Stephen King’s ‘IT’ in 1986. I am a self-confessed King fan. At one time, I pretty much had every classic horror novel that he had written. Followed by watching the movie / TV series of the various adaptations (some better than others!).

I quite liked the 1990 TV mini-series version of ‘IT’, which brought the characters to life but I confess the scenes with the kids far outweighed the scenes when them become adults.

So be warned, you will probably see critics reviews of the 2017 version that are split down the middle.

Ok…let’s get down to it! (no pun intended) Was this new remake any good? 

As with most of Stephen King’s horror stories they tend to revolve around the state of Maine in the US. The year is 1988 and this time it’s the town of Derry that is going through a crisis. Someone or something is snatching children from the town and despite various missing posters seen plastered on every telegraph pole and notice board, there is a united denial between most of the adult population.

Your Local Guardian:

This atrocity is delivered to the audience from the opening scene when our main protagonist Bill (Jaeden Lieberher, from the sci-fi movie Midnight Special 2016) loses his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) to a monster in the form of a hideous clown called Pennywise (Bill Sharsgard) in a horrifically violent act as he is dragged into the sewers where the clown dwells.

With more children going missing, Bill and his gang of friends Richie the ‘Beep-Beep’ comical one (Fin Wolfhard, from the 2016 massive Netflix hit Stranger Things), Eddie the hypochondriac (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stan the serious one (Wyatt Oieff) set about looking for clues and an answer to who is responsible for the disappearances.
Your Local Guardian: Pennywise

The group are soon joined by Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) the new chubby kid at school and Mike (Chosen Jacobs) the outsider both of who are rescued from the psycho bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hampton) and his henchmen. And then there is the only girl in the team, loner Beverly (Sophia Lillis). Together they call themselves the Losers Club.

It soon becomes evident that the evil Pennywise thrives on peoples fear and in particular he can manifest himself into people’s individual worst living nightmare, where their fright can allow the clown to consume them.
Your Local Guardian:
Bill and Beverly

The adults still have their heads in the sand and none of them seem to come over too well in the film. And our group of vigilantes all seem to suffer somekind of abuse by them.

Bill is consumed with guilt over the death of his brother and his parents seem to put the blame on his shoulders, Beverly is abused by her alcoholic father, Eddie is lied to by his overbearing Mother who smoothers him and would have Eddie believe that he has asthma and needs a puffer which is acts as a placebo, Mike is an orphan whose parents died tragically and is he is told how worthless he is by his guardian, Stan is always reminded by his Hebrew Father what a disappointment he is to him. Richie and Ben seem to be the only two whose parents we don’t see.
Your Local Guardian:

Ben spends most of his time in the library (when he is not thinking of Beverley) and it is the history of Derry that he is interested in and discovers that these terrible killings seem to appear every 27-years.

With the Losers Club complete the friends set off to confront Pennywise and destroy him before any more children can suffer. Can they defeat the monstrous clown before he disappears again for another 27-years and the suffering starts all over again?

In the original 1990 mini-series the part of Pennywise the dancing Clown was brilliantly played by British actor Tim Curry who put menace into the character, tinged with a few wise cracks and for most King fans Curry’s (who was in his forties at the time) portrayal of Pennywise came straight from the pages of the book.
Your Local Guardian:
The Losers Club
So, did the younger Bill Skarsgard live up to Curry’s performance? Yes, In bucket loads! He was just as menacing and some of the other apparitions that he manifested himself into were truly terrifying, especially the portrait of a woman’s twisted face coming to life which made the young man next to me scream like a girl!

Apparently, the scenes when Pennywise roles his eyeballs into the top of his head just before devouring a victim was going to be CGI but Skarsgard told director Andy Muschietti that he can actually do that for real!

Your Local Guardian:
Pennywise..they all float!

Another piece of trivia is that it is 27-years since the mini-series was aired and the actor Jonathan Brandis (Neverending Story II) who originally played Bill, died at 27 and Bill Skarsgard turned 27-years old when the 2017 film version opened (Spooky).

Some critics have likened this version to the recent 2016 Stranger Things which pretty much referenced every popular eightie’s movie involving kids, from Stand by Me (1986), E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) to The Goonies (1985). Plus, the use of bikes by the kids I Stranger Things which is now called doing an E.T. and they use bikes in ‘IT’ (2017). So, Richie, Fin Wolfhard who also played Mike in Stranger Things is destined to be type cast riding a bike through a town fighting monsters until his thirties!

All that aside. I thought this re-vamped movie was a brilliant adaptation of the book and TV series. The young stars fleshed out their characters well and immersed themselves into their roles. My favourite character turned out to be Eddie. I loved his quips and comments said with comic irony throughout. Plus, it sorted made it funnier hearing these kids use the occasional F-word. I don’t condone it but it somehow made me smile.

The biggest change from the book and TV series is that the storyline flashed between the kid’s story and their adult versions of themselves 27 years later. This storyline concentrated solely on the strength of the group of kids and that friendship you don’t get when you grow up.

“I never had any friends later on, like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” (Stephen King).

A huge thumbs up from Foker On Film...if you enjoy being scared witless!

4 out of 5 stars

In cinemas now

Certificate 15