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27 years later, Pennywise the clown has returned to scare everybody all over again.
IT (Dir. Andres Muschietti , 135 mins, Cert 15)
Adapting a Stephen King novel has become a yearly rites of passage for the mainstream ﬁlm industry. Sometimes it’s one we haven’t had before, as was the case with this summer’s highly disappointing The Dark Tower, other times it’s one we’ve seen a few times. This time it’s… well, IT.
Updated from the 50s to the late 80s, Muschietti’s incarnation of IT follows the normal tropes that you’d expect, just slightly updated. The Loser crew is still very much intact, being scared at every turn from the local bullies, having sexual fantasies about Beverly and dealing with the struggles that come with being a teenage boy. The ﬁlm wastes no times jumping straight into the action, introducing Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise within minutes of opening the ﬁlm. From here onward, we follow what is often a bizarrely structured ﬁlm as Pennywise meets all of the Loser Crew as different incarnations of fear. For a while, the ﬁlm has a predictable structure - meet a kid, scare him. Meet a kid, scare him. This continues throughout the into the second act until they ﬁnally realise what is going on and decide to do something about it together.
What presents itself as the ultimate ﬁlm to create jump scares, for the most part, actually does the opposite, and I say this with pleasure. The level of scare that Muschietti has managed to create is one that you can feel the town is experience. It’s a deeply rooted level of dread, ever growing in the background of each scene. These are the kind of scares that call back to ultimate Stephen King horror with the likes of The Shining and Misery.
Complemented by the beautiful widescreen anamorphic cinematography, the entire cast pull off no mean feat by creating a sense of youthful nostalgia, community and collective fear. Impressive for a group of adolescent boys. This doesn’t re-invent the wheel when it comes to the genre, but it’s love letter to classic 70s horror is a pleasant treat for the audience, and well worth a watch.