In the sleepy town of Derry, Maine, kids are disappearing at an alarming rate. When a 13-year-old’s little brother turns up missing, he decides to take matters into his own hands and find the threat. The kid Bill and his friends, known as the Losers Club, come face-to-face with Pennywise, a terrifying clown with supernatural powers. Pennywise must be stopped or It will continue to feed on countless lives.
When newcomers to “The Walking Dead” ask me whether or not they should watch the show if they don’t like zombies, my reply is always, “Watch it. It’s not about the zombies.” It mirrors that thought in the sense that the movie is not about the terrifying clown, but rather the relationship between the kids. The story centers completely around them and the horrors they deal with on an everyday basis which, in some cases, are worse than Pennywise. The film doesn’t hold any punches in this aspect and it allowed me to give it the proper respect it deserved as a FILM, not just a mere horror movie. The kids and their stories were powerful, definitely a successful adaptation from the source material from acclaimed author Stephen King.
Of course character development means nothing without a good cast. It absolutely delivers in this respect. I was worried with the film talking place in the 80’s that the kids would too closely resemble the cast of “Stranger Things”, but the Losers Club hold their own as a distinct crew. Each and every one of the cast members nail their respective roles from a determined Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) to the loud-mouthed Richie (Finn Wolfhard). Even the minor roles, those of parents and school bullies, were done extremely well. Spectacular job all around.
Which leads me to the clown of the hour: Pennywise. While I mentioned the film may not revolve around him, it doesn’t make him any less creepy. Bill Skarsgard plays the absolute heck out of the role, controlling the mood like a puppet master. Little twists of his face can make you cringe, but, strangely enough, he can also make you laugh in the same breath. The best part about his approach to the role was it felt extreme effortless. Not effortless in the sense that he didn’t try, but moreso in the sense that he didn’t have to. He didn’t go out of his way to be terrifying as he knew his presence alone would be creepy enough. I honestly find it hard trying to imagine anyone else playing that role and doing it so flawlessly.
And here’s what I didn’t like about the movie: Pretty much nothing. I’m not saying the movie is perfect, but like Logan Lucky, it comes pretty darn close.
There is a scene in the beginning of the film where we first meet Pennywise in a drain pipe. As he is talking to a young kid who couldn’t have been more than eight, you are immediately introduced to how creepy he is. You can sense the excitement in his voice as he speaks, see the spittle coming from his mouth as he tries to compose himself. He wants to eat this kid. And badly.
It is the beginning of what turns out to be a very wild ride. Masterful job. I give It a 98 and a very slight edge over Logan for the year’s best film.