the fresh films reviews

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It (2017)

Andy Muschietti
135 minutes
Roy Lee
Dan Lin
Seth Grahame-Smith
David Katzenberg
Barbara Muschietti
Screenwriter (based on the novel by Stephen King):
Chase Palmer
Cary Fukunaga
Gary Dauberman

Cast includes:

William "Bill" Denbrough Jaeden Lieberher ½
It / Pennywise Bill Skarsgård
Stanley "Stan" Uris Wyatt Oleff ½
Benjamin "Ben" Hanscom Jeremy Ray Taylor
Beverly "Bev" Marsh Sophia Lillis ½
Richard "Richie" Tozier Finn Wolfhard ½
Edward "Eddie" Kaspbrak Jack Dylan Grazer
Michael "Mike" Hanlon Chosen Jacobs
Henry Bowers Nicholas Hamilton



Of all the perceptive coming-of-age-stories Stephen King has written, few are ridden with a more nonsensical horror plot than "It". Or to put it another way: Not many of King's horror stories have a weaker link between the story's non-horror elements and the actual horror-elements. Still, "It" is the first King story to be adapted to a visual medium twice. It wasn't really necessary (pun intended).

Despite my initial qualms about the project's mere existence, I was prepared to view it with fresh eyes. The group of lead-characters, who all have problems with bullying and/or their home-life in one way or another, is well-conceived and acted. You immediately relate with them, or at least some of their daily challenges. Unfortunately, their nemeses, either it be the school's bullies or various parents, are stereotyped and overdone, giving the film a B-movie feel from the get-go. Was that done intentionally as a homage to the lesser Stephen King adaptations of the 1980s and 1990s? I don't know, but if so, what was the purpose of a remake of this story?

The coming-of-age story is then intertwined with the kids' increasingly frequent encounters with "It" aka Pennywise, a clown-like, chameleonic, child-eating monster operating in the town's sewer system. Bill Skarsgård plays the clown, which was first given a face by the often hilarious Tim Curry in the 1990 version, and I'm sure Skarsgård had quite a bit of fun with the part. The filmmakers really don't, however, because they never seem to be able to give him screentime without having to resort to jump-scares, which is a big disappointment. Although the thematic foundation for Pennywise's existence is and has always been rather meagre, director Andy Muschietti should at least have pretended to have enough confidence in Pennywise to let him stand on his own. As it is, every single encounter with Pennywise ends with massive use of sudden sound- and camera-effects – also known as jump-scares. It's a cheap, cowardly and ultimately ineffective horror trick which will kill the suspense (and possibly offend) anyone who is able to identify it. The one exception is the opening sequence, in which we and little Georgie meet It for the first time. Here, Muschetti takes his time to actually build suspense around Pennywise and in the scene. It's by far the film's most effective horror element. Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there.

Copyright © 27.10.2017 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang