“Come float with the clown, IT will haunt your dreams”: IT Film Review

By Dylan Carmody | @dylcarmody77

Lurking in the grey water sewers of Derry, Maine, is the clown. Feasting on your flesh and feeding on your fears, is IT. IT terrifies, IT attacks, and IT kills. Now, true to form – 27 years later – IT is back. This time, it’s on the big screen.

Based off the 1986 bestseller from Stephen King, director Andy Muschietti’s take may not be the greatest King film, but it’s the best at capturing the essence of his writing. IT tells the story of seven self-proclaimed ‘Losers’ on the summer vacation of 1989. While they look toward to their time without adults, playing in the sun, they have no idea of the horrors they will soon face.

Chilling, intense and vicious, but not without heart, humour and sadness, IT is a movie that could very well redefine the horror genre. So many modern horror films have heaps of scary moments, but they lack the finer details that go into making a film great – rather than just good. Muschietti’s passion cannot be missed, with references to the novel squeezed in ever so subtly, alongside his new interpretations. This is all done while maintaining the faith to King’s original characters.

Undoubtedly, the most impressive aspect of the film – rather than truth to the original – is the acting prowess of the IT’s young stars. Jaeden Lieberher is outstanding as Bill Denbrough, the stuttering lead whose brother’s disappearance spurs him on the journey to fight and kill Pennywise. The raw emotion and heart shown by the youngster throughout is incredible, showing some acting abilities beyond his years. His on-screen brother, Jackson Robert Scott, was also brilliant in his film debut – playing the adorably innocent Georgie Denbrough.

While the other Losers were phenomenal in their own roles, namely Finn Wolfhard (the irritating yet hilarious Richie Tozier), the most impressive member was Sophia Lillis, playing the hardened Beverly Marsh. Lillis is great in her depiction of Beverley, a brave, strong girl who is overcoming abuse in the home and bullying outside of it.

Ultimately, you can’t look past the clown, dancing down in the sewers of Derry. Bill Skarsgård’s portrayal of Pennywise is chilling. With long arms, a drooling smile and a terrifying laugh, Skarsgård understands Pennywise perfectly. It was always going to be a hard job to rival Tim Curry’s original depiction, but Skarsgård nails it with this performance.

IT not only thrives beneath the sewers of Derry – it thrives in theatres. The film is brilliantly acted, and the story of your childhood is mixed with the horrors of what lurks beneath. The film captures King’s work brilliantly inside the two hours, all the while bringing its own interpretation to the big screen.

IT takes you on a journey, allowing you to float. After all, we all float down here.

Catalyst has been the student publication of RMIT University since 1944. We may be older than your parents but we’re still going strong!

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