The 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has hit cinemas! While we went into the film wary that it might fall victim to the curse that seems to plague adaptations of King’s work (we are looking at you, The Dark Tower) we came out pleasantly surprised by the performances from IT‘s young cast and the film’s entertaining script. While IT didn’t shake us to the core, the film gave us plenty of reasons to watch again!
5 reasons you need to watch the newest adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘IT’:
1. Actor Performance:
It is difficult to find blockbuster horror films with likable, believable heroes in distress, but IT‘s teenage cast does a phenomenal job at bringing to life Stephen King’s engaging, wise cracking, Loser Club.
The film’s seven core leads – Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff – show us just how much a horror film can benefit from a charismatic cast.
Not only do the young actors kick-butt at the hard task of bringing to life characters from a book (knowing that fan expectations will be high), they also bring an outstanding amount of chemistry which makes the character’s on screen friendship (and puppy-love romance) believable.
It will be interesting to see if the young actor’s adult counterparts, who will take over the story in Part Two, will be able to bring a similarly engaging performance.
“Adults are the real monsters.” – Stephen King.
2. Spends time on the heroes and their story as well as the horror:
Stephen King’s IT is much more than a horror story. It is a story about friendship, bravery, and kicking fear in the face.
Most horror films spend so much time developing the horror that they forget about the characters, but IT gives us time to bond with each member of the Loser Club before Pennywise begins his rampage.
While of course, this attention to character is nowhere near as detailed as it is in Stephen King’s novel, director Andy Muschietti and screenwriters Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, did an impressive job condensing the narrative whilst keeping the characters alive.
If you like horror films that force you to care about the characters before they are thrown into the deep end you should definitely check out IT.
3. Genuinely funny script:
Punchy one-liners don’t always find a place in blockbuster horror films. While slashers and teen horror flicks will often feature the odd cornball line or amusingly cringy chase scene, most fail to pull off scripted humor the way that IT does.
The adaptation of Stephen King’s IT has plenty of laugh-out loud one-liners, most notably from Finn Wolfhard‘s character Richie Tozier and Jack Dylan Grazer’s Eddie Kaspbrak.
I won’t give any of the film’s jokes away, but be prepared for some laughs because IT is equal parts funny as it is scary.
4. Coming of age 80s film:
If you are feeling the 80s vibe that seems to be trending in Hollywood at the moment, then you won’t be disappointed by IT.
The film feels like a cross between the 1986 film Stand by Me, the Netflix television series Stranger Things and the 1985 action/adventure film The Goonies.
IT brings us back to the 80s with atmospheric childhood nostalgia, without going over-the-top with unnecessary 80s references. However, the time-period may be disappointing for those who were hoping that, like the book, the film would be set in the 50s.
5. Quality adaptation:
It is safe to assume that every movie adaptation is going to leave out and change aspects from the book, and IT is certainly no exception.
While we have seen some pretty disastrous book to movie adaptation attempts from Hollywood, IT does a fantastic job squishing the 1,138-page novel into a dense, story rich, film.
So what exactly did the film miss out (possible minor spoilers):
1. In the book, Pennywise shapeshifts into various iconic movie monsters, including Frankenstein’s Monster and the Creature From the Black Lagoon. The film, however, chose to leave these Pennywise transformations out. While these scenes may work in the book, I can’t imagine Pennywise transforming into notable monsters on the screen.
2. In the film, The Losers Club don’t spend nearly as much time in their headquarters The Barrens as they do in the book. In fact, in the film, most of their time is spent exploring the Neibolt House.
3. Finally, the disturbing ‘kids in the sewers orgy scene’ that takes place in Stephen King’s novel has, thankfully, been left out of the film entirely.
What we didn’t like:
There is plenty to love about the 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s IT, but the film isn’t without its faults.
IT was an entertaining, funny and worthwhile watch, but horror fans may be disappointed with the quality of the film’s CGI. I’m a big fan of Bill Skarsgård‘s take on Pennywise, but I would have loved to see his performance without the film’s heavy use of computer generated effects which contorts the clown’s face.
On a similar ‘horror’ note, IT includes a series of jump scares. While this isn’t necessarily a problem if done right, the film relied a little too heavily on sudden unexpected loud noises and music, rather than making use of scary suspenseful imagery.