Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *
Cast: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, Jake Sim, Logan Thompson, Owen Teague, Jackson Robert Scott, Stephen Bogart, Stuart Hughes, Geoffrey Pounsett, Pip Dwyer, Molly Atkinson, Steven Williams, Elizabeth Saunders, Megan Charpentier, Joe Bostick, Ari Cohen, Anthony Ulc, Javier Botet, Katie Lunman, Carter Musselman, Tatum Lee, Edie Inksetter, Neil Crone, Sonia Gascón, Janet Porter.
If horror leaves you feeling cold then perhaps it might be advised to look elsewhere for your cinematic enjoyment; however, if you do find yourself even on the cusp of wondering what all the hype, the balloons popping out of sewers and clowns making a comeback, is all about, then look no further than for arguably the best adaptation of a Stephen King novel yet as It strides the pictures with assuredness and great storytelling.
It has always seemed that a tale of suspense and intrigue, of heart pounding shocks and gripping narrative by the undisputed master of Horror has always fallen into two distinct camps when it comes to putting them on screen or on television, they are either brilliant, The Shawshank Redemption and The Shining for example and considered classics for the lure of the performance or they are normally universally condemned as a whole, with just the die-hard seeing the worth in them.
It is hard to capture the intensity and sincerity of the writer, even when he pens the cinematic or the television version himself, no better example than the psychological and claustrophobic terror of Under The Dome somehow being elongated and taken far beyond its remit, yet when it done by either the director or the main actor in the film, then it adds so much colour and depth to what the page and the sentence is saying that it fills the screen with delight.
Yes It is a classic horror film but it is also a coming of age picture, it is The Body merged with The Tommyknockers, of an otherworldly being terrorising the population of Derry and more importantly of being the cause of the disappearance of its children; like some modern day Pied Piper dressed in the suit of a clown, It is behind every huge catastrophe and the lurking feeling of evil in many of the townsfolk.
To emulate the great Tim Curry on screen is perhaps one of the hardest tasks that an actor can undertake, as Mr. Curry was the finest thing to come out of the original television film, that is a tremendous ask straight away and for Bill Skarsgård to capture that maniacal energy as Pennywise the Dancing Clown is to praise him, he truly understands the nature of the character and fills the screen with honour and terror in a way that few can do.
With Sophia Lillis adding a touch of tomboy loner with great heart as Beverly Marsh and Jackson Robert Scott as the lost Georgia Denbrough adding such drama to their parts, It really lives up to the hype, to the big name that Stephen King has been for the last forty years.
If you don’t like horror, all well and good but like many films of the genre, there is so much more than shock and gore in the narrative and action; ultimately it is making the point of childhood, of how adults enforce terror into their children without realising the damage they are doing. It is a film of coming of age, of memory and remembering what it was to be frightened; a true class act, arguably the finest adaption of the King of Horror’s work.
Ian D. Hall