IT 2017 movie has always been a tough nut to crack of Stephen King. King’s story is quite a lot of things. To summarize it, seven youngsters confront a shape-shifting demonic clown in small town of Maine, then, they come home as adults to deal with its return.
It’s a messy, druggy attempt to distill decades of horror tropes into a chaotic fever dream when IT film adapted for the first time as a TV series. In the second adaption, there arre a lot of different things. This time, the novel is adapted to be on big screen directed by Andy Muschietti. The movie focuses entirely on the childhood-set portions of King’s book. It’s a collection of alternately terrifying, hallucinatory, and ludicrous nightmare imagery. There’s a fundamental hollowness in IT 2017 movie that haunts the film just as surely as the titular monster haunts this small town.
The fact that IT 2017 movie adaption is only the first half of the story gives us hope for a sequel telling the rest of the story. As IT 2017 cast, Muschietti (along with screenwriters Chase Palmer, Gary Dauberman and previously attached director Cary Fukunaga) has remained faithful to the book’s overall mood while diverging from its particulars.
The novel’s famous opening sequence is largely adapted beat-for-beat. Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) frolics in the rain as he follows a paper boat to a drain. He then encounter a sinister figure calling itself Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard). That meeting marks the end of sweet Georgie. It’s an upsettingly effective scene, and the rest of the film struggles to craft another with similar impact.
A few months after Georgie be brutally murdered, Georgie’s older brother, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), wracked with guilt over sending Georgie out alone. He is the last one still holding the hopes of finding Georgie alive. Besides Georgie, several other kids have gone missing. Summer comes with school break, Bill enlists his friends to help scouting out the nearby streams for clues. They’re more interested in talking about girls than helping Bill finding his brother, also they’re busy avoiding the psychotic bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton).
The club is known as the Losers Club including Richie (Finn Wolfhard), a Coke-bottle-spectacled know-it-all, Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), an inhaler-wielding hypochondriac, and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), a sclerotic skeptic heading unprepared into his bar mitzvah. The club gradually grows with Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), a shy new kid who spends his time in the library, and Mike (Chosen Jacobs), a home-schooled loner joining them. Then, Beverly (Sophia Lillis), a supremely confident, chain-smoking tomboy eager to escape her abusive home life, get along with the boys making the biggest disruption. Both Bill and Ben fall in love with her.
IT 2017 appears to each of the Losers one by one, in a variety of guises, toying with them just long enough to scare them witless before reverting to its default form of IT 2017 Pennywise. Eventually, the kids tell others what they have experienced, and that’s Ben connecting the sinister goings-on to similar eruptions of violence throughout the history of Derry. The group resolves to fight back against IT 2017 by themselves, even if that means venturing into the town’s labyrinthine sewer system.
As spine-tingling as a number of individual scenes are, the movie struggles to find a proper rhythm. Scene-to-scene transitions are static and disjointed, settling into a cycle without deepening the overall dread or steadily uncovering pieces of a central mystery. As IT 2017 Pennywise, Skarsgard is largely tasked with providing a canvas for the film’s visual effects, and he never manages to cast as long a shadow as Tim Curry did with the character in the 1990 TV miniseries.
IT 2017 movie done a good job by picking the always-missing-element of adaptions of King’s work: the notion that young people are uniquely burdened with atoning for the inequities of the adult world. Most of the scene show no parents in sight, and when adults break into the narrative, they’re invariably drunk, cruel, manipulative and bringing fears and worries to those they ought to protect. As King puts it in the novel, “adults are the real monsters,” and Muschietti has plenty of ground left to cover when we see what kinds of adults these characters become.