(2 / 5)
Unfortunately and perhaps unfairly to movies such as It (2017) there will be the inevitable comparisons to the original hit made for TV movie (1990) that is well loved and respected by that generation.
I count myself fortunate to grow up in the era of fantastic coming of age movies such as Stand by me, The Goonies, The Lost Boys, The Boy Who Could Fly and It (1990). What these films managed to portray was the constant struggle that just existing as a teenager posed and how we are all forced to deal with our demons far more intensely than in adult life.
It (2017) starts off well and introduces the ‘losers club’ (the teenage protagonists) in a very similar fashion to the way it was done back in the 1990 version. The original version was set in 1960 and as the events take place every 27 years this movie is set around 1990. I guess we now have to wait for the inevitable sequel which will be set in modern day 2017.
So how did the new generation perform? We have the leader Bill, who although strong and quick witted battles constantly with a stutter that undermines his every action. Ben is the new kid in school and to make matters worse overweight, he is struggling to find friends until taken in by the group. Richie is the joker and often offers much needed levity to many a horrific situation. It has to be said though that as well as young Finn Wolfhard tries to capture the magic displayed by Seth Green back in 1990 it often falls flat. We then have the only girl in the group, Beverly who is struggling to deal with an abusive father and a cruel and scathing attack on her reputation from the town’s people.
Some of the supporting cast; Eddie, Mike and Stanley perform well but the stories involving them are often dull and you find yourself wanting the scene to move on. So what of the movie’s title character? Pennywise the dancing clown? While Bill Skarsgard was creepy and intimidating in places, the way that Pennywise has been written in this story was simply not scary and offered very little tension unlike the original. Tim Curry played a far more imposing and terrifying Pennywise and this was mainly due in part to scenes involving him which then cut before we saw what he actually did. The graphical representation of the scenes that were otherwise implied in the 1990 version were simply ridiculous looking in places and the CGI ruined the feel of the movie.
The best parts of the movie were in fact the scenes where it almost mimicked the original – for instance the paper boat scene at the start with Bill’s brother Georgie. As soon as the movie started to descend into the absurd (about 3/4s of the way through) it began to get difficult to watch. The final scenes in the Well house where the teenagers battled the creature were no better than any other run of the mill, by the numbers supernatural thriller. They offered the viewer nothing in terms of horror, thrills or surprise.
Like many others will be I was very disappointed at what I feel was a missed opportunity and chance to show today’s older teens what a good horror can be. I don’t hold out much hope for the sequel which looks like it is to be due late 2019.