IT - Chapter One (2017) - Review
by Bryan Mero
I was there when 'IT' (the mini-series) hit the airwaves back in 1990. That was 27 years ago and that still leaves an impact. Some good, like the storytelling and some bad, like the special effects of the time. All that is washed away with this new rendition of the Stephen King classic.
As with most Stephen King stories...we find ourselves in a small town in Maine. Something strange happens in Derry, Maine every 27 years. There is an event that occurs where people disappear in bunches, especially children. It appears that this is the year. When Bill's brother goes missing along with several other children, he and his friends (The Losers Club - including Richie, Eddie and Stanley) start investigating. Along the way they pick up a few straglers including Beverly, who lives in an abusive home, Ben, who is the new chubby kid in town and Mike, the homeschooled kid who lives just outside of town. They all have a couple things in common. They've all be been terrorized by the town bully and or by their piers in junior high. And one last major thing...they have all been scared half to death by visions of a strange clown or other things they fear the most.
That's as far as I will go so I don't spoil anything. This reminds me a lot of how the Netflix series 'Stranger Things' handled the 80's horror genre. Throw in a pinch of 'Stand By Me' and 'The Goonies' and you've got yourself a movie. The kids were great! I'm so happy to see child actors play their own age. All the kids range from 12-14yo and that's how old they are in the story. It's refreshing to know young actors can take such a role and give it a great and compelling performance. You believe these kids are their character and that is what's most important. You care for these kids. You were probably one of these kids in junior high, or at least felt the same way. Without that the story would just be something to sit through, instead, you are pulling for each kid as they fight their fear and face the monster.
I wish they could have developed a couple characters a bit more. Mostly Mike (Chosen Jacobs) who is the homeschool kid working on a sheep ranch. He is saved by the Losers Club and then suddenly is just in the club. I know things move fast when your kid, but I'd really like to know more about him by being shown and not being told. Which is how the handle most of his character in the movie. The other character would be Ben, the new kid in town. We have no idea where he moved from, if he has any brothers or sisters, why they moved there...nothing. We just see he is the lonely, chubby kid. I know if would have been even a longer movie, but that would have gone a long way to round out the entire cast of characters.
Unlike the miniseries, the special effects are tremendous. Pennywise the Clown is creepier than any ordinary clown. It constantly had you inside the nightmare of each character. The jump scares work most of the time. Luckily they don't rely on that technique. Just having these kids in danger, either by Pennywise or just the people in the town is enough to keep you scared.
I'm not a big horror movie fan. I watched quite a bit when I was younger and obviously watched the miniseries of IT. As far as horror movies go, this is one of the better ones. You care about our main characters because we got the chance to know them, laugh with them, cry with them and yes, bleed with them. Not being your typical horror genre fan, I still enjoyed it overall, which I guess is the biggest compliment you can give it.
PARENT WARNING: Do I really have to remind you? This is rated R, restricted to 17 years old and above. Don't take your kid to see this movie. There are many situations where children are in danger. Lot's a blood. Lot's of adult language and situations. So, no, just keep the kiddos at home for this one.