Dara O Briain once stated in one of his shows that nostalgia is basically, “heroin for old people…. Oh the good old days.” I know what you’re thinking, what has this got to do with, if anything, the new version of Stepehen King’s IT? Well dear reader if you will allow me to indulge for a bit, I will explain. When news broke of this reboot in 2009, I was actually quite happy. Calm down Tim Curry fans, chill the beans. I saw the original miniseries years and years ago. It terrified me, mostly because of Tim Curry truth be told. The miniseries riveted me to the spot and I lost sleep for at least a fortnight. But I re-watched it upon hearing the reboot idea and well meh. The first half of the series stands up but it loses direction for the second half and that ending? Jesus. Woeful. So how does the remake stand up?
Well to be totally honest it blows the original out of the greywater (see what I did there?). The film has been moved out of the 1950’s and is shot into the 80’s, more specifically 1989. One of the many reasons I adored this movie. There are posters of Gremlins, Beetlejuice adorning the kid’s walls and the local movie theatre is showing Batman and later on that faithful summer, rather tellingly A Nightmare On Elm Street Part 5: Dream Warriors.
The posters on the walls belong to the kids central to the plot. Bill, Richie, Ben, Mike, Eddie, Stan and Bev, or as they affectionately call themselves, The Losers Club. These kids are dealing with a lot, an awful lot. That awkward phase that most of us went through, unsure of where you stand in life but comforted by familiar faces and generally having solid friendships. They have to deal with parents that either won’t accept what is happening in the town of Derry, Maine. That is the disappearance of a lot of kids and the suspected cause, the terror that is Pennywise The Dancing Clown (a phenomenal Bill Skasgard, who is absolutely amazing and brings a terrifying clown to life).
They also have to deal with the terror of the high school bully, in this case there are four and are led by your average local sociopath, Henry Bowers, seriously that boy ain’t right! And this is the heart of the story. These kids have a lot to deal with in their everyday lives, terrible adults who should know better, adolescence, puberty, bullies and the clown. Now let’s clear something up here. IT is not Pennywise, there that had to be sorted. It is merely the form the entity, or Bob Gray takes as it is primal fear and very alluring to young kids and even bigger kids! It is merely a face of fear that moulds to fit a person’s particular fear.
Things I Loved about this film:
The Losers Club. Seriously the kids in this movie were all amazing and their chemistry was off the charts. Their adventure over the course of the summer made me laugh and cry. They were the heart and soul of this movie.
Skasgard, Holy Christ, his contorting eyes, his voice, his costume his general existence. Terrifying.
The nostalgia. This movie is a mix of The Goonies and Poltergeist
The effects. I am aware that there was CG used but it looked seamless and was terrifying.
The last fifteen to twenty minutes. No spoilers here but be prepared to cry.
Things I Did Not Love:
We have to wait nearly two years for Part Two!!!! Blast it!!
No all joking aside, go see this movie. It is one of the best King adaptations ever. Loads of heart, scares were not plentiful but I’m glad for that. Modern horrors are mostly rubbish and full of cheesy jump scares which renders the film useless. The cast are phenomenal and you will leave feeling things other than abject fear!
By Jamie T. Murphy