IT is a horror drama film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name. Starring Bill Skarsgård in the title role, the film not only succeeds as a terrifying horror film but also as one of the best adaptations of Stephen King’s work to date.
In 1989 in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of outcast kids known as the “Losers Club”, are each terrorised by a frightening, shape-shifting entity they collectively refer to as “IT”. When no one else in town will come to their aide, the kids decide to band together and fight against “IT” themselves while also overcoming their own personal demons.
Like with comedy, horror is a highly subjective genre. What one may find scary may cause others to roll their eyes in annoyance. Thankfully, IT provides enough scares that seem as realistic as possible and prevent the film from being silly. This retelling takes itself very seriously and doesn’t constantly rely on jump scares for legitimate horror, instead by building a creepy atmosphere of uncertainty and individual torment in each of the kids. The cast is fantastic, Bill Skarsgard’s performance as IT, in particular that of his clown form Pennywise, is terrifying, almost on par with Heath Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight. He definitely feels like more of a threat than Tim Curry’s version, whom by today’s standards seems a little too goofy and wacky to be scary. In addition to Pennywise, all of the child actors are brilliant. Not once did I ever feel unconvinced of the fear that they were feeling. Even the usual Stephen King tropes seemed more subdued in this film, aside from the usual setting in Maine, of course. If this is the future for adaptations of Stephen King’s work, then I am most certainly on board.