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IT (2017)

Delving into this review I’d like you to know that before experiencing this remake, I had no prior knowledge of the IT mythology. I have never read the Stephen King novel, nor have I seen the 1990 miniseries featuring the legendary Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown. That's not to say I won't eventually get around to both. Personally, I'm not a huge King fan, based on both he hit-and-miss adaptations and the miniseries I have seen. I have to say that I'm going to assume the majority of people's love and admiration for the miniseries is either based on the amazing performance by Curry, or solely nostalgia. Based on Andrés Muschietti previous attempts in the horror genre, I was slightly optimistic regarding his take on such a beloved property. His 2013 horror 'Mama' was something that came and went without much fuss and was clouded by the over use of CGI and heavy-handed reliance on jump-scares. Within moments of this film starting, my doubts were quickly eradicated. Establishing the standard of quality pretty early on, with beautiful camera work and cinematography, to then go on and have Pennywise graphically murder a child during his first introduction before the opening credits even rolled was a bold and unexpected turn of events. Considering the controversy surrounding his casting when first images were released, I believe this to be a career defining role for Bill Skarsgård. His portrayal of Pennywise the Clown is something that will go on to haunt nightmares for generations to come. The ability he has to be able to switch from friendly to terrorising withing a split second is testament to his capability as an actor. His performance is enhanced by an amazing makeup and costume department, from what I've been told, successfully creating a look much more faithful to the novel. I have a slight love and hate relationship with the use of CGI here. The horrifying contortion scene as Pennywise is coming from inside the fridge to attack Ed looks outstanding. Same goes for the moment when Pennywise jumps out from inside the projector, these make up for some of the best moments in the entire film. Yet, there are other instances, such as the painted lady from Stanley's visions, that really compromise the overall experience for me as a viewer. Considering the the make-up used to create the disease riddled man that comes for Ed, I believe this could have just as easily been done for the lady in the painting. There is no denying that the shining starts of this film are the amazingly talented young cast that was assembled to portray the Losers Club. The standouts of the group being Richie played by Finn Wolfhard, someone who I feel has an incredible career ahead of him, and Eddie played by Jack Dylan Grazer. The dynamic between these to character alone is entertaining enough even without the rest of the events unfolding around them. The conversations between them and the rest of the cast felt genuine and authentic in comparison to other films featuring such a young leading cast. This is in part due to the majority of the lines being ad-libbed. Disappointingly, I felt the character of Mike played by Chosen Jacobs felt sidelined for the most part of this film. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as I found him to be by far the weakest of the cast. I think my own personal curiosity is what draws me to repeat viewing of this particular installment. It provides enough exposition and development of Pennywise as an entity, but explores subtle details that lead to so many questions as an uninformed viewer such as myself. For instance, the three glowing dots known as the Deadlights and Pennywise's reasoning for collecting these floating children. I have tried to dive into the lore via YouTube videos and articles, but have come to the conclusion that this is knowledge that is only going to be obtained by reading the entirety of Stephen Kings interlinked back catalogue. There is so much to love within 'IT Chapter One' for such a wide variety of audiences, and if I had to categorise it I would call it an adult Goonies adventure. I have only seen the sequel once and I recall coming away from it disappointed by the overall conclusion to the story well established here. Not only is this one of the most enjoyable horror films to come out in the past decade but it features one of my favourite scenes in recent horror history. Within the closing moments, Pennywise gives the Losers Club the ultimatum to leave Bill behind and go on with their lives. A scene that not only resonated with me as a viewer but with me as a child and getting into unintentional sitiuations with my own friends. It is in these moments that Ritchie delivers a speech that I believe will go down in horror history. "I fucking told you Bill, I don't want to die. It's your fault. You punched me in the face, you made me walk through shitty water, you brought me to a fucking crackhead house... And now? I'm gonna have to kill this fucking clown. WELCOME TO THE LOSERS' CLUB, ASSHOLE!"


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