Review by Grant Dillard, Staff writer
Photo courtesy of vimeo.com
Horror movies this year have been a mixed bag. Films like “Get Out” and “Annabelle: Creation” managed to be successful with audiences and critics, while films like “The Bye Bye Man” and “Wish Upon” were nothing more than forgettable trash. Thankfully, “IT,” based on the popular Stephen King novel, is another great horror film for 2017. It is not even October yet, but “IT” has to be the most terrifying movie of the year.
The story takes place in the small town of Derry, Maine in summer 1989, focusing on a group of kids known as “The Losers Club.” Bill (Jaeden Lieberher,) Beverly (Sophia Lills,) Richie (Finn Wolfhard) Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor,) Mike (Chosen Jacobs,) Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Stan (Wyatt Oleff) usually have to deal with bullies as well as other kinds of abuse in their personal lives. However, what brings them together is worse than anything they have ever seen before: the terrifying and mysterious clown known as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) who has been responsible for many child disappearances. Wanting to put an end to Pennywise, the young heroes will have to team up and face their fears if they want to be victorious.
The film does a magnificent job at giving audiences scares, while also not forgetting to develop the main characters. The main protagonists are handled wonderfully, each of them having their fun and lighthearted moments while also dealing with some form of negativity in their lives. Bill gets the most focus as he struggles to deal with the disappearance of his younger brother, Georgie. His parents believe that Georgie is dead and will never be found, but Bill is determined to find him which makes his character very compelling. Beverly’s abusive father may be just as disturbing as Pennywise himself. Richie is the least serious of all the kids, providing very funny comic relief although sometimes his humor can get a tad annoying here and there. At least to the film’s credit, it is meant to be a little annoying, resulting in the other characters telling Richie to cool it at times. The rest of the cast may not be as great as Bill, Beverly and Richie but they are still very likable characters that audiences will enjoy.
Of course, the one who steals the show is Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise. There may not be enough words in the English dictionary to describe how fantastic his performance is. Not only is Skarsgard frightening as the villainous clown, but he can also be really funny too. Thankfully the film emphasizes more on the horror aspects of Pennywise, only using humor when necessary. It also helps that Pennywise is much more than just a scary clown that kills people. He feeds off people’s fears and is able to take the shape or form of some of the kids’ greatest fears. The other forms, though maybe not as scary as the clown form are still very creative and deliver some of the film’s biggest frights.
Thanks to wonderful characters, a brilliant antagonist and fantastic scary imagery “IT” is not only a great horror film but one of the best films of the year. With some of the upcoming scary movies in October being “Happy Death Day” and “Jigsaw,” there is a strong chance that any other horror film to come out this year will not surpass “IT.” Those who love horror films, as well as films altogether, should definitely check “IT” out.