Review: IT (2017)

Andres Muschietti has decided to remake IT, one of the most iconic Stephen King Novels and TV Movies. Similarly to Netflix’s Stranger Things (2016), another product of this latest trend. IT combinges the mood of cult adventure movies (The Goonies and E.T.) and pre-adolescent dramas in the suffocating outset of provincial american towns (Stand by Me, another movie based on a Stephen King story). However, IT is first and foremost a horror movie and it succeeds absolutely. 

The story per se is pretty simple: “A group of bullied kids band together when a shapeshifting demon, taking the appearance of a clown, begins hunting children” (Source: IMDb).

What makes IT special is its depth. During the film it becomes clear that the real monster is not Pennywise; the clown is just a manifestation of the fears that the kids have, products of lifestyles where they feel under threat. The movie and King depict a world where kids are left to themselves, where parents do not bother with them or are indeed the causes of their terrors. The leads deal with bullies, racism, sexism and the challenges of growing up to an extent where at some point you begin to realize that a murderous clown is the least scary thing in Derry. The horrors of real life are potent and friendship seems to be their only salvation.

Horror movies are difficult to pull off. All the elements must be on point: the editing, the cinematography and most importantly, the general atmosphere. In addition to these elements, using the story of the legendary Stephen King (whose books have inspired masterpieces such as The Shining and Misery) makes the director’s job even more complicated. In this sense, the movie is proficient if not spectacular. The film is frightening thanks to good editing and  cinematography that always creates an eerie atmosphere.

However, a fundamental element of the success of IT is the performances of the young cast. Bill Skarsgard in the role of Pennywise and Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, the anxious and hypochondriac member of the group, stand out. Grazer in some scenes is so charismatic and mature that his character seems like an adult. Honorable mentions go to Finn Wolfhard (A Stranger Things alum) as Richie Tozier and Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh.

In this sense, IT is a brilliant homage to the 80’s movies that inspired it. The young cast is as engaging as River Phoenix’s sensational performance in Stand By Me. As a horror film, the movie delivers: it is not only scary, but it has an entertaining and engaging plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you are a fan of the genre and the work of Stephen King you have to see IT.

IT is in cinemas nationwide now. Image source: Time.com 

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Martina Rocchi