D: Andy Muschetti
Warner Bros/New Line/Ratpac-Dune (Roy Lee, Dan Lin, Seth Grahame, David Katzenberg & Barbara Muschetti)
W: Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga & Gary Dauberman [based on the novel by Stephen King]
DP: Chung-Hoon Chung
Ed: Jason Ballatyne
Mus: Benjamin Wallfisch
Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Ben Hanscom), Sophia Lillis (Beverly Marsh), Finn Wolfhard (Richie Tozier), Wyatt Oleff (Stanley Uris), Chosen Jacobs (Mike Hanlon), Jack Dylan Grazier (Eddie Kaspbrak), Bill Skarsgård (Pennywise)
The much anticipated feature film version of Stephen King's It, which originally hit screens in the form of a two-part TV movie way back in 1990.
The original film wasn't without its faults. Though bound by restrictions on budget and violence, it still provided effective shocks, mostly due to the creepy performance from Tim Curry as the sinister child-murdering spectral clown. Still, the first part of the 1990 version was much more entertaining than the second part, which drifted into nonsense and wasn't particularly scary.
This 2017 update suffers from similar circumstances, except it's the opposite way. The first half is dire, suffering from poor acting and ridiculously slow pacing, only punctuated by the usual cliché horror moments and predictable jump scares.
The story doesn't drift too far from the source material, but it's only half the story. Set in 1989, instead of the 1960's (probably to save on production design budget) only half of King's novel is focused on, following a group of school friends who come together to defeat a malevolent spirit who manifests himself as Pennywise the Dancing Clown who comes out of hibernation every 27 years to feast on children.
Perhaps this would have been a better film had Cary Fukunaga (the creator of True Detective) been kept as director, it's clearly his influence in the final hour which redeem this film, with some truly terrifying visuals leading up to a nail-biting climax. Unfortunately, the final moments of the film are poorly done, throwing in a romance hook which feels more like a cockblock and leaving it open for a sequel because money is to be made from another film, rather than telling it all in one.
The CGI is often quite ropey, as are many of the juvenile performances, with only Sophia Lillis' performance as Beverly Marsh the real standout.
Bill Skarsgård does an okay job portraying the evil clown, but he's creepy for the sake of being creepy, whereas Tim Curry's performance in the original was far more effective.
As far as remakes go, it's far from terrible, but one wonders what could've been had Cary Fukunaga been able to take it down a psychological thriller path rather than settling for the usual big studio blueprint.