Opening September 28, 2017
Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Writing credits: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman
Principal actors: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jackson Robert Scott
Your eyes will be glued wide open in horror, your spine will quiver with prickly terror, your inner (frightened) child, buried long ago, will surface, gasping. In other words It, adapted from Stephen King’s book by the same title is a horror movie well worth seeing. From the opening scene when little brother Georgie (Scott) reluctantly goes to the basement of his house to get sealing wax, you will be sitting on the edge of a precipice of fear. Poor Georgie, he never had a chance.
Set in Derry, Maine, seven teenagers with no respectable adult in sight set out to solve the mystery of the town’s missing and savagely murdered children. Led by Georgie’s brother Bill (Lieberher) the seven pursue the maniac predator, the clown Pennywise (Skarsgård) who returns to the cursed town every twenty-seven years to slaughter innocents. Not only do these youths have to single handedly save the town combating unspeakable ghoulish terror, they also have to fight the more mundane battle of being social outsiders. Dubbed the Losers Club they bear the brunt of Derry’s brutal teenage bullies who terrorize them almost as much as any kid-eating clown.
Although mercilessly enhanced by terrifying computer-generated imagery (CGI), the horror of the movie eventually tends to numb the senses. When nothing in this two hour and fifteen minute film necessarily shocks anymore, the outstanding performances of the young actors take over. There is lots of bonding, blood brothering, and even an endearing adolescent kiss. Banding together against all odds the Losers defeat the horrendous Pennywise, or do they? Bill, no longer the stuttering, sickly youth at the beginning of the film, demands of the others, “Swear: If it isn’t dead, if it ever comes back, we’ll come back too.” Chapter Two is on its way. (Pat F.)