Nothing To Laugh About
♦ Tripwire’s editor-in-chief JOEL MEADOWS cleans his clown shoes, whites up his face and takes a look at It, in cinemas from today…
Director: Andy Muschietti
Stars; Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs
Twenty-seven years after the TV miniseries with Tim Curry as evil clown Pennywise, we have someone else stepping into his oversized shoes. Bill Skargsard plays the malevolent clown figure terrorising the small town of Derry, Maine.
It was a canny move to remake King’s story for the big screen now and even more savvy to set it in the 1980s especially when Stranger Things, which isn’t a King story but feels a lot like one, is such a huge draw for audiences.
Jaeden Lieberher plays Bill Denbrough, the young boy with a stutter who loses his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) to the clown when his toy boat finds it way into one of the town’s drains during a particularly heavy rain storm. Other murders take place and the gang of young friends begin to see a pattern emerging where Pennywise appears every few years, commits his crimes and then vanishes again.
Skargsard who plays the clown looks incredible as developments in special and make up effects since the Curry version have meant that you can achieve a lot more these days than you used to be able to. The group of friends led by Bill have a real chemistry and particularly notable are the performances of Sophia Lillis as the only girl in the group, Bev Marsh and Lieberher himself as its leader.
It looks the part too as a film, with Muschetti and the help of cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung and production designer Claude Paré bring the small town world of Stephen King New England to life with style and verve. The eighties setting does work really well as we get a cool soundtrack that includes The Cure and lots of eighties clothing.
Considering that this film only cost $35m to make, it definitely punches above its weight.
Muschetti has left things open for a followup and the book does deal with the kids as adults, so this is in keeping with the source material. It is surprising that a horror film like this has been released in late summer rather than around Halloween but this has been a year for filmmakers confounding traditional release schedules.
It is a well made horror film with a number of moments that make you jump. Skarsgard is excellent as Pennywise, easily as creepy and deranged as Curry and the rest of the cast are very good too. It uses the theme of growing up and loss to good effect, utilising images and motifs that will stay with you long after you leave the cinema. This is well worth watching for discerning horror fans.
It is out in cinemas now