IT – A Penny*wise* horror film

An old man sat next to me on a park bench, he asked “penny for your thoughts?” I turned to him and said, “It’d be wise of studios to stop clowning around with these Stephen King movies.”
Suddenly (and if I’m honest, rather rudely) the man transformed before me into a gloopy, writhing mass of tentacles and teeth. Several eyes formed across his grey skin and I recognised the beast for what it was: a Sony executive.
Suddenly I snapped awake; I was sitting in a cinema, waiting for the new IT movie to begin.
My friend next to me gripped my arm and said “You really need to stop Dallas-ing out in public.”
Was it all a dream? Or was this IT, much like the 90’s IT and The Dark Tower, just another bad adaptation that had come to haunt me?

Modern cinema has crippled me as a person.

IT is directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama) and stars Bill Skarsgard (Atomic Blonde) as Pennywise; the ‘dancing clown’ who also partakes in some light child murdering. As most sewer dwelling clowns often do.

IT is the 2nd American take on the story by Stephen King, after the 90’s miniseries. This time around, IT is determined to focus more on its novel namesake; telling the story of a group of kids called the ‘losers club’ who live in a small town haunted by an ancient evil. We all know the story, even if you’ve never seen the 90’s series or even read a word of the book. IT is an iconic horror story, and it’s my overwhelming pleasure to say that IT is now *also* an iconic horror movie.

“God, you gnaw one kid’s arm off and they never hire you for a birthday party AGAIN”

I was skeptical as fuuuuuuunk about this reboot. I grew up with the original IT; the original Losers Club, the Original Pennywise. Childhood memories are a hard thing to improve upon for many people. However, as much as I love me some Tim Curry, I’ve honestly never had any real love for the original IT.
was fine like a dodgy used car is ‘fine’; on the surface everything seems to work, but look under the hood and you see how much of it is held together with duct tape and some questionable ‘tubing’. This IT however, is a tightly crafted and practically perfectly executed film that improves on the previous IT in every single way.
No offense nostalgia-eyed-friends, but next to this the 90’s IT ain’t shit.
Except for that shower scene. That freaking scene.

Seriously, this gave me a lifelong fear of looking down drains.

Hot DAYUM this is probably the best cast movie I’ve seen all year. Bill Skarsgard gave me flashbacks of Jared Leto’s Joker in the sense that I thought “I dunno about this guy, but I’ll wait and see how he goes.” Unlike Leto’s Joker, I completely fell in love with Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise. This guy nails IT – yaknowwhatimsayin. Sorry Tim Curry, you’ll always be special to me…but this IS Pennywise. Skarsgard is creepy, entrancing and above all completely sells the unnatural nature of IT. It’s hard to put into words, but once you see IT, you’ll know just what I mean. Also fun fact: there’s a moment when Pennywise ‘roars’ in the final confrontation. This is a recycled and tweaked roar from the Cave Troll from LOTR: Fellowship of the Ring. I notice these innocuous details so you don’t have to!

Me every time Pennywise appeared on screen.

First of all Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) is dynamite here (again) as young Richie Tozier *BEEP BEEP RICHIE*.  The next big mention deserves to go to Jaeden Lieberher – who plays stuttering Bill Denbrough – who is so deeply emotional and grounded here that it’s like he’s been acting forever. However, my personal pick for MVP of IT goes to Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh. Holy crap. This girl has ‘it’.

I don’t even know what ‘it’ is, but she has it. The same level of energy, character and life that lives behind the eyes of greats like Anthony Hopkins, Kurt Russel and especially Michael Keaton lives behind her eyes. Lillis shows off incredible range as Bev Marsh, and is honestly the most interesting character in the film. This is one to watch, guys.

We’re lookin’ at the future here, people. Papa bless.

Last we come to the crème de la crème of IT; the story. If I’m honest this is better than the book for the part of the story that it tells. While I like King, he can be overindulgent in his own stories. Here we’re given everything we need to know in a timely and well paced manner. IT really does feel like a movie that was made years ago, the kind you think of and say ‘god that’s a good movie, they don’t make movies like that anymore.” Well apparently they do, and thank god for that. IT also knows the story it wants to tell: a story about KIDS who happen to be dealing with a monstrous clown amidst other, relatable evils. Not the other way around. This is a seriously satisfying movie to watch that just brings that good old feeling of enjoying a film again.

This is the kind of creepy shit I want to see more of.

Seriously, what more can I say? IT lives up to the hype of its trailers, and for my money is the best horror movie I’ve seen all year. Hell, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. IT could almost take ‘best Stephen King film’ for me if The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption didn’t exist. This isn’t just a great horror movie, but it’s a great movie in general. A splash of Stand by Me here, a dash of monster movie there, and all-in-all you’ve got one hell of a good movie that really ticks all the boxes.

What an un-freaking-believable joy it is for me to say that IT is absolutely worth seeing.
Oh my god, I’m gonna cry.

Wicked Cool Rating: 100% 

That’s right, the second film this year to get an A+ from me. IT obliterates all uncertainties and expectations.
This is a stellar film.

IT is in cinemas right now so get on your bike and pedal your way down to see it ASAP!
Got a hankering for more Stephen King? Why not sink your teeth into The Dark Tower review? Or check out our Month Of King (pt 1 & 2 available now) for a trip down memory lane as we round up all things King on the screen. Well, almost.

For more killer clowns and nightmare fuel, stick with Pixel Pop Network.

Go forth and have nightmares

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