In the small town of Derry, Maine adults and especially children go missing at six times the national average. A group of local kids decide to look into the problem and discover an evil force feeding off their fear, manifesting as Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård).
We say, “It may be the scariest film adaptation of a Stephen King novel.”
TAYLOR: I think It is a good film and novel to screen adaptation. I read the book, more than once, as a teenager. I also watched (and greatly disliked) the TV mini-series that was produced in 1990. It is a story that needs to be too dark to be broadcast on TV. Well, that was then. I suppose on TV today, anything goes. Any visual telling has to glaze over the horrors of the real world and supernatural forces working against these kids, doing damage, so that the number of truly awful things we see are limited. Gore, violence, swearing, situations and scenes have a range of greater intensity on the big screen. Yet, this film has been fairly rated 14-A. The true horror, the threat and response to it, make it real enough that we don’t need to see it all. We don’t need an R-rating.
HOWE: I loved It and I’m so happy that it didn’t disappoint. So many times with remakes, the film companies mess around with a perfectly good movie and destroy it. In my estimation, this new big screen It is better than the ’80s version. That isn’t to say that this is perfect — far from it — but at some points in the movie, I was filled with dread. A few times throughout it made me jump and got my heart racing a little faster.
TAYLOR: Skarsgård is all of It. My greatest joys while watching this film where when the face of Pennywise filled the screen. I wanted to see more of him. There are other scary things in the film, the evil doesn’t always manifest as a clown. The film isn’t perfect, it’s guilty of a few horror film cliches. The production design misses the mark in it’s recreation of 1989 and it uses levity and bravado like a superhero movie. But there are genuinely scary moments and very few jump scares, one of which made a lot of people scream. Overall, It is a great deal of horror fun.
HOWE: I thought Skarsgård did an amazing job as Pennywise, his mannerisms, his appearance and his voice are just so creepy. The kids did what they had to do and played their parts well enough. I didn’t want the film to end, roll on Chapter 2.
Taylor gives It 4.5 pairs of skinny jeans out of 5.
Howe gives it 4.5 red balloons out of 5.
— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday.