So it’s no secret and I have said it time and time again on my other reviews, I am a sucker for horror films!!! Now that that is out of the way lets continue. Not only am I a horror film fan, but I am also a child that grew up on the 80s. Needless to say my expectations for Andy Muschetti’s interpretation of Stephen Kings novel were high.
Now I know there are going to be many out there that will call this film a rip off of Stranger Things…I mean after all both the film and the Netflix show center around a group of prepubescent boys fighting evil with the help of a strange girl. This is the thing though; Stranger Things is a direct homage to Stephen King. You can see direct lifts, I mean homage, from The Mist, Firestarter, Carrie, Cujo as well as works resembling Hopper, Spielberg, and even John Carpenter. So now that we have that out of the way…
Muschietti, the films director, accomplishes an almost original vision of this terrifying novel and I say “almost” because he didn’t necessarily start from scratch. There is the 90’s IT miniseries to consider, in which Tim Curry traumatized an entire generation with his portrayal of the demon-clown of Derry, Pennywise. But that miniseries adaptation although great for TV horror is surpassed beautifully my Muschietti for the film as he delivers a punch in the gut of jumps and suspense.
From the haunting opening where we are introduced to the Giorgie, the nightmarish finale in the sewers, this new version is a solid execution of King’s brilliant story telling. Although some creative liberties were taken, such as updating it from the 50’s to the 80s; the biggest plot diversion occur more out of necessity. King’s novel is a monster of a read at 1090 pages with many parts telling the back story and diversions, so the director decided to concentrate on the coming together of “The Losers Club” rather than digging to much into their origin story. This does perhaps leave some holes and detachment from some of the characters but hey he only had 2 hours to work with.
All and all, IT is an amazing homage to the films I grew up with. Although it is not a perfect film, it does what it’s supposed to do and entertains in every aspect. It will leave that “floating” feeling in the pit of your stomach and will have you checking over your back whenever you walk out of the bathroom to turn off the light. Muschietti’s interpretation does what many have tried to do as of late, capture you and keep you there until the end.
It’s Goonies, with a mix of The Lost Boys, a pinch of Monster squad and a Stand by Me twist.
by Hiram Trillo