coming of age

[Movie Review] It Chapter One (2017) ★★★★☆

Stan, Mike, Richie, Bill, Beverly and Ben watching slides in It Chapter One 2017

It Chapter One brings a new reimagined all too scary Pennywise the Dancing Clown to the horror theatre.


This new adaptation of the renowned book It by Stephen King is a slightly new interpretation with much more emphasis on the horror clown It a.k.a Pennywise the Dancing Clown. 

It Chapter One covers the teenage part of the Losers Club and their first encounters with Pennywise. It’s a supernatural coming of age tale addressing their real life fears and the dangers caused by Pennywise. The children are a real treat and Pennywise is at his scariest. It’s therefore a horror tale that speaks to both adults and teenagers and can be a great gateway horror to introduce the genre in a compelling way to teenagers. 

The different setting of the eighties brings in a nostalgic feel and really adds to the story, making it gripping and feels as a trip down memory lane. With some original cinematography, a pleasant structure, likable characters who are brave, some spooky settings and lots of nostalgia, this new interpretation is just the thing for a new generation.


Plot

In Derry seven children form the Losers Club and stand together to overcome real life threats and to defeat the supernatural threat of Pennywise the Dancing Clown who abducts little children and spreads mayhem and evil every 27 years in Derry. 

In the summer of 1989 Beverly, Bill, Ben, Richie, Mike, Eddie and Stan each have to face the biggest evil yet.


Why you should watch it

This new interpretation has added some differences to the story, mainly the time period, set in the eighties instead of the fifties, which gives a whole new feel to it. Some of the personal fears of the children have been changed, and Mike even has a whole new background story that differs fairy from his original background. 

The structure of the story introduces us to each member of the Losers Club, their family, their problems and how they finally meet and become the infamous Losers Club. Their immediate bond is the heart of the film and their friendship is tangible. It is therefore very much a coming of age story in which Pennywise is the ultimate challenge and battle to overcome their childhood problems and fears. What makes this story great is that their combined efforts are the key to win this epic fight.

Although Tim Curry was the first actor to bring the horror clown to life, newbie Bill Skarsgård does an excellent and terrifying job. He is a real show stealer and does it with great devotion. He is scary, horrifying, gruesome and his new forms are absolutely terrifying. His moves, epically what he can do (for real) with his eyes, his terrible big mouth with deadlights inside and his craziness and unpredictability make him a very scary clown. His new appearance and looks are imaginative and scary and his performance makes him an unforgettable villain. Those of you who suffer from coulrophobia are hereby warned. 

A setting that gets much more attention is the house on Neibolt Street. It makes an excellent haunted house and in every room something terrifying lurks and creeps. The art decoration is very well-done and reminds of a very spooky imaginative funhouse with deadly scares.

Also the sewers got a little makeover which results in an almost surreal environment. And it gives room for Pennywise to go all out with his horror extravaganza in his home made theatre. The whole creepiness factor excels a standard young adult/teenage horror.

The decade itself is a real nostalgic treat, the clothing, everyone talking and shouting in a chaotic way, the music (New Kids on the Block) plays a role in the background without being intrusive. It adds to the atmosphere and is a trip down memory lane for older viewers.

A big difference is the realness and viciousness of Pennywise on which the film is built and not on Derry’s history and Pennywise’s symbolism or the evil that Pennywise spreads. The violence is also more real and instead of defeating Pennywise with their childlike innocence, they just beat and attack him.

The danger the kids are in is real as well, and the film doesn’t shun away from letting them get hurt. It all plays out in a realistic, albeit sometimes a surreal setting, instead of playing out on a supernatural imaginative plane, like in the book. It becomes therefore their personal battle instead of an epic battle against all evil Pennywise represents. And their innocence is lost in a different way than Beverly proposes in the book. 


My favorite part

I just love haunted houses and Neibolt Street is a fine example. When they venture inside it becomes a real haunted house tour like no carnival has ever seen. It is fantasy combined with horror and fun, even a little nod to Tim Curry’s Pennywise, riddles, ghosts, creepy dolls, monsters and much more. The Losers can show what there are made of. It’s their first trial of bravery and they barely pass. Everyone has a chance to shine, to be in their personal spotlight even if their darkest fears come to live. 


Ratings

Rating: ★★★★☆

Scare factor: ★★★★☆

 Entertainment factor: ★★★★☆


Read more about It:


Cast and crew

It Chapter One is based on the book It written by Stephen King in 1986. It is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Chase Palmer and Cary Joji Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman. It stars Jaeden Lieverher (Bill), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben), Sophia Lillis (Beverly), Finn Wolfhard (Richie), Chosen Jacobs (Mike), Jack Dylan Grazer (Eddie), Wyatt Oleff (Stan) and Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise)

Duration: 135 minutes. Music: Benjamin Wallfisch. Cinematography: Chung-hoon Chung. Edited by: Jason Ballantine. Produced by: Seth Grahame-Smith, David Katzenberg, Roy Lee, Dan Lin. Production companies: New Line Cinema, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, KatzSmith Productions. Distributed by: 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros, New Line Cinema. 


Check the trailer below