Bill Denbrough makes a paper boat for his younger brother Georgie. Running out into the street Georgie chases the folded paper boat down a storm drain, inside which lives Pennywise, the dancing clown. Bewitching young Georgie, Pennywise savagely bites off the young boy’s arm and drags him into the drain with him. Eight months later, Bill and his misfit friends gradually realise that Pennywise has returned to their town to claim its remaining children.
Fans of the cult show ‘Stranger Things’ will find much to enjoy here in this modern re-make of Stephen King’s best-selling horror story. From the casting of Finn Wolfhard to the re-imagined period of the 1980’s (as opposed to the 1950’s setting in the original book) director Andy Muschietti has littered his version with pop-culture references a plenty. From the ‘A Nightmare On Elm Street 5’ sign showing at the local cinema to the ‘New Kids on the Block’ songs, this is a movie whose tonal inspirations are directly referenced on-screen.
With re-vamped make-up and a queasy, lip-curling grin, Bill Skarsgård comfortably fits into the clown-sized shoes of Tim Curry…
Like Freddy Krueger in ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’, Pennywise the clown is an evil, metaphysical presence that feeds off your inner mosts fears, in the same way that Freddy invaded other children’s dreams. With re-vamped make-up and a queasy, lip-curling grin, Bill Skarsgård comfortably fits into the clown-sized shoes of Tim Curry’s original interpretation. Less bawdy, more beguiling, Skarsgård’s Pennywise is a subtler hunter, whose fixation is feeding off the the fear of others.
Referencing the adolescent growing pains of King’s other novella-turned-movie ‘Stand By Me’ and the we-need-to-stick-together attitude of the ‘Goonies’, this ‘It’ is more a rites of passage story than horror movie. When the horror comes, it is well executed and a credit to the film that it never flags down the drama during its 2 hours 15 minutes running time.
So whether you find clowns creepy or not, this ‘It’ combines King’s evergreen horror story with great visuals, convincing portrayals and a well balanced sense of humour. Aimed squarely at its intended cert. 15 audience, ‘It’ isn’t horrific as it could have been but still delivers a decent, comedic horror punchline for Bill Skarsgård’s suitably twisted performance.