Starring Bill Skarsgård, Chosen Jacobs, Sophia Lillis
Directed by Andrés Muschietti
The long-awaited film adaptation of the Stephen King’s 1986 classic novel — about a demonic clown terrorising kids in a small town — is finally here. Okay, not really. Only half of the epic source material (the first edition is 1,138 pages long!) made it to the screen. For now.
Argentine director Andrés Muschietti (Mama) has the unenviable task of combining two movies into one: the coming-of-age story and a creature-feature. For the most part, he succeeds in drawing out emotional performances from his young actors (grown-ups have a limited presence here), and delivering plenty of scares (each of the seven kids has a spooky encounter with aforesaid bogeyman, so you do the math).
As Pennywise, the jester from hell, Bill Skarsgård — Alexander’s younger brother — is fascinating to watch; if you’re not a coulrophobe, you’ll be one after It. However, his (Its?) best menacing moments are in the beginning of the movie when he makes his first kill; the rest of the time, he’s less interesting as a CG effect. Given that there are so many characters to keep track,
I can’t help but sometimes wonder if the sprawling narrative works better as a TV mini-series (as it originally did back in 1990) or a serialised Netflix show drama like the King-influenced Stranger Things. In its present cinematic form, It feels rushed, unfinished and unsatisfying. They better make the sequel. (***)