It first grabbed the masses in 1986 when Stephen King penned the spooky novel. Four years later, the novel was turned into a television mini-series featuring the main character, an evil clown played by a brilliant Tim Curry. Fast-forward to 2017, where a new generation of fans can enjoy the story as a motion picture remake has been made and is actually doing quite well at the box office.
The film takes place in the quaint Derry, Maine circa 1989 where a ragtag group of kids band together to battle Pennywise, who lurks in the local sewers and seems to be unseen by adults. All of the kids are outcasts, lonely, and plagued with various social problems. In a very 80s Stand by Me / The Goonies kind of way, these “losers” join together when Pennywise shows up and starts killing and menacing the town.
It is a fun ride all throughout. There are jump scares and pretty decent performances here. Pennywise is brought back to the screen 27 years after Tim Curry chewed up the scenery in the television mini-series and the results are something to marvel at. Young actor Bill Skarsgård (Atomic Blonde, Allegiant) plays the new Pennywise and his performance is not just creepy but quite memorable. Computer-generated special effects and heavy makeup bring Pennywise to life here and audiences are treated to one seriously disturbing monster.
With Pennywise being the villain and main attraction gthe film, the cast of kids is also very appealing as well, most notably Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things, Sonora) who plays Richie, a hilarious foul-mouthed kid who basically steals the show with his quick wit and genius one-liners. The rest of “The Losers Club” is full of talented young actors but it’s Wolfhard who really stands out and adds a lot of humor to this otherwise serious horror film.
Now with any cinematic experience, the eyes and ears are treated to something special but with advances in modern movie-going technology, It can be seen in 4DX, a gimmicky, sometimes amusing form of interactive film fun. At appropriate moments, the seats in the auditorium shake, air and water is sprayed in your face, and flashing lights help enhance the film’s action. It’s silly but good for a laugh but not the price of the ticket.
All in all, It is a spectacle and a movie almost everyone can enjoy. The gore isn’t as over the top as Saw and the jump scares won’t make you run for the hills like Paranormal Activity. It is a smart story and the actors in the new film elevate it to more than just a cheesy horror movie. Being scared hasn’t been this fun in a long time. This movie is definitely on my radar.