Stephen King’s IT – Whenever Stephen King’s IT was brought up in conversation, the first thing that would pop into peoples minds was Tim Curry as the titular character Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Despite the criticisms that the 90s made-for-TV miniseries doesn’t hold up, Tim Curry is still fun to watch. So when a new movie was announced, a main concern was how Pennywise would be handled. Those concerns faded when the trailer came out.
Review and recap Stephen King’s IT
The movie takes place in the town of Derry, Maine in the late 80s. It follows a group of friends who are terrorized by an unknown entity who takes the form of their greatest fear in order to feast on them. They band together to find a way to stop “It” once and for all.
Between the book and the made-for-TV miniseries, it’s hard to find someone who doesn’t know the story. However, even if you know nothing about the story, this movie is still quite enjoyable. Fans of the book will find things they enjoy, and even spot a few easter eggs. There is one thing about the movie that fans may or may not like, and that is this movie is not a horror movie.
Despite a few somewhat unsettling scenes, many scares in this movie are reduced to jump scares accompanied by loud noises. While movies like The Witch and The Conjuring have a general feeling of dread and unease throughout, IT relies almost exclusively on the jump scares. This is a common downfall for quickly made cheap horror movies. Fortunately, IT isn’t one of those.
The main focus is on the group of friends that affectionately call themselves the Losers Club, and this is where the movie really shines. The performances of all the child actors are fantastic, and you believe almost immediately that they are all close friends. None of them are high-profile actors, and it really helps sell you on the characters. You find yourself rooting for them for the whole movie.
When it comes to Pennywise, Tim Curry left some big clown shoes to fill. His performance is easily the highlight of the miniseries and it’s hard to picture anyone else in that role. Then along comes Bill Skarsgard. While Tim Curry’s Pennywise was somewhat more playful, Skarsgard channels the evil, more animalistic Pennywise. This Pennywise has little time to play around, It wants to eat. With his voice, facial expressions and body movements, this is certainly much closer to the terrifying Pennywise from the book. If he wasn’t reduced to mainly just jump scares, he would truly be the thing of nightmares.
Overall, despite it not being as scary as most people were hoping for, IT is still a solid movie. The parts following the kids are more engaging than the horror elements, but even those moments are still fun. The movie doesn’t even have the typical jump scare horror movie ending, instead ending on an emotional send off. This, along with the stellar performances and engaging story, elevate it far above typical horror movies.
Stephen King’s IT characters and cast include:
Bill Denbrough – Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special, St. Vincent, The Book of Henry, Masters of Sex)
Ben Hanscom – Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ant-Man, 42, Alvin and the Chipmunks)
Beverly Marsh – Sophia Lillis (Sharp Objects, A Midsummer Night’s Dream)
Richie Tozier – Finn Wolfhard (Carmen Sandiego, Stranger Things, Sonora, The 100)
Mike Hanlon – Chosen Jacobs (Hawaii Five-0, Cops and Robbers, Remnants)
Eddie Kasbrak – Jack Dylan Grazer (Me, Myself and I, Scales: Mermaids Are Real)
Stanley Uris – Wyatt Oleff (Scorpion, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Once Upon a Time)
Pennywise – Bill Skarsgard (Simple Simon, Atomic Blonde, Castle Rock, Allegiant)
Henry Bowers – Nicholas Hamilton (The Dark Tower, Strangerland, Captain Fantastic)
Belch Huggins – Jake Sim (Raising Expectations, Arthur, The Magic Hockey Skates)
Victor Criss – Logan Thompson
Patrick Hockstetter – Owen Teague (Bloodline, Mercy Street, Black Mirror)