Horrorfest 2017 Presents: IT Chapter One (2017, Andy Muschietti)


Despite the obvious limitations of it being a TV mini-series in the early 1990s, I rather enjoyed the 1990 IT adaptation. The young cast and Tim Curry were the best aspects of the whole project, and the original mini-series was not afraid to show plenty of violence for being on network television at the time. The newer version that I saw in theaters back in 2017 improves upon the material, although granted this new version of IT has a bigger budget and they wisely split the movie into two parts. Andy Muschietti also put together a talented young cast as well, and his Pennywise is in some ways different from Curry’s take on the character while also being just as scary in his own way. I feel that Curry’s was more sinister, however both versions of Pennywise made you believe that they would destroy you in a heartbeat and also devour anyone and everyone you ever loved or cared about. That is one important underlying thing about the movie and the book’s monster, how if you were not careful whatever mistakes you committed would be your last. Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise embodies that aspect very well.

Plus the newer version is unlimited by how much gore and violence can be unleashed upon the viewer. The infamous sewer scene is expanded upon and is far more terrifying, especially since Muschietti wisely slowly unfurls what is happening. Poor Bill (Jaeden Martell) is left haunted forever by that experience, and I really dug the young cast assembled here: Jeremy Ray Taylor and Sophia Lillis are the standouts, although Finn Wolfhard almost steals the movie as as young Richie. Chosen Jacobs, Wyatt Oleff and Jack Dylan Grazer also round out the pretty talented main cast, and as I’ve noted before child actors are no longer a hinderance to most cinema: they’re expected to be able to act as well as their adult co-actors. Getting the young cast right was important, as this film and the mini-series both reflected the book in that the flashbacks to the younger days are the best things about all of them.

Although some parts failed to scare me, the projector scene in the garage was pretty terrifying to me and some parts worked incredibly well. Unfortunately even this movie gives into the modern reliance on jump scares too much, so there was some parts that didn’t work at all for me. The lady in the painting was at least really creepy, and there is one scene that is probably one of the bloodiest moments in all of cinema that doesn’t feature anyone being murdered. I am disappointed that the turtle elements were mostly dropped from the movie, although perhaps that stuff was just too weird and not really necessary to advance the movie’s plot. I suppose you either prefer the original 1990 version or this one (I happen to really like both) yet in the end I prefer this take on the material. Besides the original didn’t have Ben professing his love for New Kids On The Block, and that is one moment I wouldn’t have missed for the world ha ha. As for the second part, that’s for a later review…all hail the Losers Club!

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