IT Isn’t Clowning Around

17 days ago

 

with Vince Munn

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Andy Muschietti from horror novelist Stephen King and New Line Cinema comes a circus of another kind headed by IT.

In the Maine town of Derry, it becomes clear that kids have become the target for disappearances. Know one knows that better than Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) when his little brother Georgie is taken –but by who or what? Supported by friends that include the wisecracking Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and Eddie (Jack Grazer), he makes it day by day.

Adding to their group calling themselves the Losers Club is Ben (Jeremy Taylor) who becomes part of the group when a band of town bullies marks him, Beverly (Sophia Lillis) who is living her own hell at home and Mike (Chosen Jacobs).

School is out in the summer of 1989 and Ben has been spending his summer in the library learning about Derry and the disappearances. Sharing his information with Bill who renews his sense of finding Georgie, they all agree to help even if somewhat reluctantly. It also becomes clear that each of them has seen the clown known as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) and are terrified.

When Pennywise takes one of their own, the rest know where he can be found and make it their mission stop the demonic clown.

Friendships can make you brave!

Lieberher as Bill is a strong young man in the face of the hardest thing that can happen to a family. Yet he still holds out hope to find his brother and be that family once again. Lieberher’s character has the ability to talk his friends into danger and as much as some may complain, they are with their friend in all things. A strong leader to this very diverse group.

Lillis as Beverly is the young woman who lives this excruciating life at home yet when with the gang doesn’t hesitate to jump into danger. This young lady is someone to keep your eye out for in the future. Taylor as Ben is the historical brains of the operation by finding solace in the library he has the key to finding Pennywise. Taylor gives his character a sweet personality and emotion that include poetry.

Grazer as Eddie is the sick kid that is being suffocated by his helicopter Mom. He wants to be with his buddies but is sometimes swayed by his mother’s neurosis. Oleff as Stanley just wants to be a kid and hates what is happening – clearly. Jacobs as Mike is the last edition to the Losers Club and fits right in to a group that is anything but losers.

Oh my goodness, Wolfhard as Richie had me laughing when I felt like I shouldn’t have been laughing yet still laughed. Follow that? He is the kid with a line for everything and nothing is off limits meaning a filter is not one of his gifts. I love this kid!

Other cast include: Nicholas Hamilton as Henry Bowers, Jake Sim as Belch Huggins, Logan Thompson as Victor Criss, Owen Teague as Patrck Hockstetter, Stephen Bogaert as Mr. Marsh, Stuart Hughes as Officer Bowers, and the adorable Jackson Scott as George Denbrough.

In 1990 I saw the mini-series of IT and was totally taken with the story. Set in the 1960’s, it had the look and feel of a time I could easily relate to. The story then was told by the adults who had returned to Derry to face Pennywise once again. By the way, Pennywise was then played by Tim Curry and he was absolutely fantastic scaring and haunting everyone’s nightmares.

So here we are in 2017 and the film is set in the late 80’s and even if you didn’t realize the year, the movie marquee in the film would remind you. This time the story begins with the kids, how they come together through circumstances and the end result. I’m sure that’s being saved for the next IT film.

There is CGI, scares, moody music, all sorts of era references and humor that mixes in with the creepiness of a clown terrorizing a town. To add more for any possible IT trivia game later, in Stephen King’s book IT, Pennywise comes to town every 27 years. The mini-series aired in 1990 and here we are again in 2017 – 27 years later! Feel the willies?

How do I feel about this new updated version? Well, I asked my friend Vince Munn to join me for the screening of IT and weigh in on the film with me because this IT telling is definitely meant to be a shared experience.

Jeri: I have to admit that it’s been a long time since I read the book IT. Look, I don’t mind the new version because the kids are absolutely fantastic. I don’t mind giving props to a cast and these kids get it definitely. The cinematography of small town living and the touches of the era were also well done.

Vince: As a long time fan of Stephen King, this is one of my favorite books that he has written, as well as the mini-series that nurtured my fear of clowns. This movie gets to delve deeper into parts of the book mostly its graphic description of violence against children, more so than the series ever could.

Jeri: True, but IT was pretty dang graphic for television of that time. I still remember thinking it was horrifying and couldn’t remember anything that scared me as much back then. Of course the graphics then were considered pretty cool and the CGI is definitely heavy in this version.

Vince: The power of the budget is there and you can see every dollar on screen. The film is well paced and shot.

Jeri: What did you think of the cast?

Vince: The cast is superb. There are no big stars in this so it makes relating and believing the characters easy. The kids get along and you believe their relationships and camaraderie.

Jeri: Like we talked about last night, I wasn’t really thrilled with the gaps in the story and that makes me a little nuts. That being said, IT certainly delivers on creepiness and unexpected scares.

Vince: Atmosphere is everything in horror and the film nails that. IT knows the audience that will be there so there is scare music and good jumps.

Jeri: I think Richie steals the show in a lot of places. He is that comic relief when things are getting to tense. Maybe I just like the fact that he’s quick on the mouth even in the face of fear.

Vince: The nice reverse to that is the use of humor and levity after the fear. Perfectly timed and never distracting. This is a good solid horror with a balance of gore and mood.

Jeri: So now we have to wait to see how they take the kids story and meld that with the adult story. That’s going to be important if IT is to sit neatly with its original version.

Vince: That is the hard part for this, the connection of the kids to the adults that we will se down the road. I trust director Andres Muschietti to show me. Go see IT, laugh, scream and enjoy the movie!

Jeri: I had a good time watching IT but have my problems with Pennywise – or maybe I’m just a loyal till I die Pennywise/Curry person. That being said, this is definitely a film to gather a group up to go see together. Take people who love clowns and mix it up with people who hate clowns because when it’s all said and done – everyone is going to have a good time.

In the end – you’ll float too!

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