Horrific and Hilarious, ‘It’ is the Best Stephen King Adaptation in Years

It Movie

Stephen King’s It has had an unusual ride to the big screen. It was at first a miniseries in the ‘90s starring Tim Curry as the nefarious clown Pennywise, but FCC restrictions ensured that the miniseries would have to tame King’s more frightful elements. In recent years, Warner Bros. had been trying desperately to get King’s massive text to the big screen, and a number of stops and starts plagued the film in preproduction. It’s no easy task to cram 1,100 pages of Stephen King into a two-hour movie, and with so many underwhelming adaptations of King’s work it’s not a mystery why the author’s die-hard fanbase was skeptical of bringing It to the big screen. And yet, It is here. More surprisingly, director Andy Muschietti’s adaptation is really, really good, one that will win over the uninitiated and please the most ardent fans. With a great young cast, a robust sense of humor, and plenty of chilling moments of terror, It takes the mantle as a modern day classic of horror cinema.

The film opens in 1988. Young Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) is eager to set loose his paper boat in the gutter as water rushes due to a rainstorm. His older brother Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) prepares the boat but is unable to join his younger sibling due to a cold. The paper boat floats down the wet streets before landing in a storm drain. The young child looks down dismayed at losing his paper boat, but a clown in the sewer has saved the boat. Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) gleefully entertains the young boy before taking the child’s arm and severing it with his gruesome teeth, the rain-covered street stained with blood.

In 1989, Billy is still haunted by his brother’s disappearance and the town of Derry, Maine is reeling with another disappearance. School has just gotten out for the summer and Billy’s friends, loosely referred to as “The Losers,” are ready to exchange profane barbs and enjoy the summer sun. “The Losers” consist of Billy, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff); and they’re soon joined by Mike (Chosen Jacobs), a homeschooled young man whose grandfather runs a slaughterhouse, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), an overweight young man who has just moved to town, and Beverly (Sophia Lillis), a young woman with an abusive father and a runaway reputation. Not only do these youths have to contend with the demented clown Pennywise, but also the relentless bully Henry (Nicholas Hamilton), who along with his friends are determined to make life a living hell for “The Losers.”

Considering the formidable task of adapting King’s beloved novel, the screenplay by Gary Dauberman along with Chase Palmer and Cary Fukunaga (who at one point was attached to direct) is amazingly efficient, building King’s mythology for the screen and cutting the ample terror with plenty of laughter. The terror is omnipresent in the film and yet there’s so much humor to counteract the horror elements. Even for those, like myself, unfamiliar with either the novel or the miniseries can’t help but be rapt with the combination of horror and comedy that ensures that It is among one of the best Stephen King adaptations of the past 20 years.

The young cast of It is a revelation, and any comparisons to Stranger Things just happens to be a coincidence, as the show was heavily influenced by King’s novel. Finn Wolfhard often steals the show with his impeccable delivery of some astounding one-liners. The same, however, could be said of any of the film’s young actors, including Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, and Jeremy Ray Taylor. They’re all dynamite in their work. As Beverly, who thankfully isn’t a faithful adaptation of the novel’s depiction, Sophia Lillis is a compelling young actress who makes you wonder if there’s some factory where they’re cloning Amy Adams. Jaeden Lieberher avails himself well after the debacle of The Book Henry, with a nuance performance that isn’t grating yet overflowing with empathy and concern.

In the role as the film’s antagonist, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård delivers a dynamic piece of acting that doesn’t lean upon Tim Curry’s performance and stands entirely on its own. Skarsgård is menacing and unsettling as the ghastly clown lurking in the sewers below Derry. He brings a performance that leans on comic stylings with a horror tinge, yet he brings the goods to a level that no star could comparably bring. Pennywise isn’t the heart and soul of It, it’s the young cast, but Skarsgård makes himself indispensable to film’s whole with a twisted, ghastly heart that fits into the film’s unsettling blend of horror and humor.

The reactions surrounding It have been drenched in hyperbole. It is a very entertaining movie, and the fact that it’s a good adaptation of Stephen King after years of movies that failed to deliver makes it seem a little better than it is. The combination of the stellar young cast, the demented work of Bill Skarsgård, and the tense direction of Andy Muschietti help obscure some of the film’s weaker aspects. From start to finish, It entertains as a devilish work of horror. I do believe that the charming young cast and the bold personality of the film will ensure that It is not only a hit, but a movie that horror fans will be talking about for years to come.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Darkest Hour
Joe Wright’s ‘Darkest Hour’ Brings Forth Gary Oldman’s Finest Hours

In 1940, as Hitler’s Nazi forces spread their aggressive campaign of...

The Good Time Girls
Brutal Female Fronted Western Revenge Short ‘The Good Time Girls’ Optioned as a Feature

The Western genre has for too long been a sausage-fest, movies...

Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh Discusses the Fire Behind ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’

These days, it’s easy to be angry. Look around you and...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Super Beat Sports Review
9.5/10
Drop the Beat, Don’t Drop the Ball – Super Beat Sports Review [Switch]

Harmonix delivers another game that’s as fun and catchy as that song...

Nioh: Complete Edition Review
9.5/10
Test Your Metal – Nioh: Complete Edition Review [PC]

Definitive proof that there is fun in challenge and frustration –...

7.0/10
Review – Bad Apple Wars (PSV)

Rinka is your typical high school girl. She goes through life,...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
9.5/10
Tick Tock, Tick Tock, the ‘Doomsday Clock’ is about to Strike!

Title: Doomsday Clock #1 Writer: Geoff Johns Artist: Gary Frank Colorist:...

viz media
Viz Media Digital Manga Update for November

TLDR Viz Media announced its digital manga update for November will...

viz media
New Anime and Manga for the Holidays from Viz Media

Viz Media releases new anime and manga for the upcoming holidays....

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Are you Ready for WWE Survivor Series? Check Out Loot Crate First!

Updated from Thursday’s Original Post: One of the original “Big 4”...

Thor
Are You Worthy to Wield Thor’s Hammer (Tool Set)?

ThinkGeek’s 44 piece Thor’s hammer tool set is the perfect gift...

Legendary Dragon Decks Review
Dragons are the Coolest – Yu-Gi-Oh! Legendary Dragon Decks Review

Dragons are ingrained into every season of Yu-Gi-Oh, here’s your chance...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
AXS TV Closes NJPW’s ‘G1 Climax 27’ With Four Episodes From The Final Weekend Beginning Friday Oct. 13

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 11, 2017) – “Rainmakers” and “High Fly...

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Rocky Romero has created an auction to raise money for UNIDOS por Puerto Rico Disaster Relief

I’m The costume was worn by Rocky during the final Roppongi...

Douglas Lima Defends his Bellator Welterweight Title Against Rory MacDonald at the Forum on 1/20

LOS ANGELES – One year removed from its previous event at...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Adult Continuity Issue #10 – Justice League XXX

  ADULT CONTINUITY   ISSUE 10   JUSTICE LEAGUE XXX An...

Javier Fernandez
Future Comic Rock Stars – Javier Fernandez

It’s been an incredibly long time since I’ve written this column...

Comics on the Can – Double Dragon

Comics on the can Double Dragon Writer – Dwayne McDuffie Pencils...

Event News Event Reviews
go little tokyo
Five Reasons to Visit LA’s Little Tokyo For the Holidays

Go Little Tokyo is pleased to host Go Little Tokyo for the...

BlizzCon 2017
Another Cool Year at BlizzCon – BlizzCon 2017 Roundup

BlizzCon 2017 was packed full of Blizzard news that chilled fans...

LA Comic Con 2017
Stan Lee and Dwayne Johnson Rock the Main Stage at LA Comic Con 2017

LA Comic Con (formerly Comikaze) brings the star power with its...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
MTV Unveils Performers for ‘TRL Live’ on October 3rd at 3 p.m. E.T.

NEW YORK, NY (September 26, 2017) – MTV today announced that...

Long Beach Punk Band ‘Spider’ Rocks ‘It’s Not Dead’ Festival

Spider is a heavy hitting punk band out of Long Beach,...

Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...