It is a 2017 supernatural horror film directed by Andy Muschietti, starring Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott. Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, the film follows the story of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by a predatory shapeshifting being, only to face their own personal demons in the process.
- Great performances
- Skarsgard is awesome as Pennywise
- Great direction by Mushchietti
- Good score
- Great cast
- Good dialogue
- Great special effects
- Engaging story
- Great writing
- Maintains tense, suspenseful atmosphere
- Some CGI is spotty
Plot: The story begins with am adorable little boy named Georgie who is murdered by a weird clown named Pennywise in a sewer. Afterwards, seven kids, including Georgie’s brother Billl, is being stalked by the devious entity who is revealed to eat children. However, the seven kids ban together to learn about and defeat Pennywise before he kills them. The story is pretty engaging with us following the lives of the Losers Club, their day-to-day lives, and their interactions with the evil clown. The story does allow for character development as not only do the characters grown with each other but learn to overcome their fears. But I really appreciated the focus of the side stories (mainly the kids’ individual lives) and how they contributed to the main story. There is even more exposition on Pennywise as well which helps makes the story more well rounded. (4 out of 5)
Characters: A fantastic cast of characters, the Losers Club are just awesome characters with great chemistry. The main characters are Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), Beverly (Sophia Lillis), Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Stan (Wyatt Oleff), Mike (Chosen Jacobs), and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer). While watching the film, it’s hard not to like them. Either it’s something in their relationships, issues facing them at home, or just their interactions with Pennywise. Ritchie plays a great comedy relief. They’re pretty diverse but well rounded. Now, for as awesome as these characters are the highlight of the film is Pennywise. Pennywise the Dancing Clown is the main antagonist of the film, a mysterious and dangerous being who stalks and kills children. Curry’s version of the character proved how people can be scare of clowns. He was comical but could be dark. However, Skarsgard’s version is much darker. Even the bully, Henry Bowers, although initially a douchebag (well, actually a douchebag there entire movie), is shown some humanity as to why he torments the Losers Club. (5 out of 5)
Cast: Thumbs up to the performances as well as awesome cast. Bill Skarsgard completely nailed Pennywise the Dancing Clown, and I mean nailed it. Not only did he give the character presence but he gives the character personality. The main cast include Jaeden Lieberher (Bill), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben), Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Finn Wolfhard (Richie), Wyatt Oleff (Stan), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), and Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie), and they have so much chemistry onscreen. Nicholas Hamilton plays Henry Bowers and the man does a great job. One thing that the movie shows is how much most of the supporting cast are just miserable or assholes. Nearly every character outside of the Losers Club are jackasses, in one form or another. (5 out of 5)
Visuals: Thumbs up to the special effects, which utilizes a good mixture of practical and CGI. The Pennywise design is quite different from the 1990’s miniseries and although it does a great job of making the character humorous as well as terrifying, the outfit itself looks to be much older. One thing that is noticeable about Pennywise is when he goes demonic that it seems like his skin is stretching as if it was a creature wearing a clown costume and I think that this is a great way of reminding the audience that Pennywise is not actually a clown.
There are one or two moments where the transformation is obviously CGI but they good enough to fit in with the rest of the special effects. Also, the different manifestations are done really well (The Leper, the woman with the flute, etc.). Even with the design of Pennywise’s layer (comprised of children’s belongs, old circus props, and the bodies of the missing children floating about), it gives more presence to the character. There are some camera shots that do look weird such as when Pennywise is lunging at his prey or the one sequence where Pennywise is dancing. And focusing more on how the movie is shot, it is done really well. There are some great camera angles, the editing is done really well, and the transitions feel effective. (4 out of 5)
Score: Thumbs up to the musical composition. Benjamin Wallfisch just makes this movie. When it comes to the suspense building, the music just works. The music does a great job of emphasizing the small moments between characters, the more fun moments when they’re together, dark when Pennywise on the scene, intense when things are going down. (4 out of 5)
Writing: First, I’d like to say is that I really enjoyed the writing and direction for the film. Andy Muschietti shows his talent as a director especially with paying homage to the source material while at the same time making it feel fresh. The film definitely takes a darker tone telling a really compelling story that is reminiscent of Stephen King. There is also the focus of drama and horror, which the script balances really well. The suspense is maintained well and there are several scenes that are chilling. Loved the humor, especially from Ritchie, because it feels like something someone would say in those positions. The dialogue is pretty good and does feel authentic for young characters. Another aspect to the film is that it tackles a taboo. Children aren’t exempt from death in movies but this film definitely has a strong focus. Scenes like Georgie’s death and the little girl hanging in the closet with her lower half missing can make people uncomfortable, and helps to show how detestable he is.
Pennywise gets a lot of screen time, but its his demeanor that makes him scary. There are moments where he’s humorous but never to a point where he isn’t serious. In the original, Pennywise can be totally comical to the point where you forget he’s a murdering children eating entity. But in this movie, he’s creepy and threatening in nearly every scene. One of the best moments of the film (and boy there are a lot of them) is the scene with Pennywise taunting and preparing to eat Eddie. It shows that he’s serious, especially when he’s taunting Eddie, playing like he’s going to eat his hands. There is really little that I found wrong with the film overall, and I like how subtle the script sets up for a sequel without it feeling unnecessary. (5 out of 5)
The Verdict: In the end, It is not only a great movie but one of the best movies of 2017. It’s easy to see how this movie is one of the best horror movies in recent history, as well as remakes. Fans of the original will most likely like this remake and even fans of horror in general. The performances are awesome, Skarsgard is phenomenal as Pennywise, direction is great, characters are great, great suspense, great use of special effects, and an engaging story. It gets 5 out of 5. One of the best horror movies of all time and I highly recommend everyone see it.