“You’ll float too,” when you read my review of “It.”
I’ve never watched the full mini-series of “It,” based on Stephen King’s novel, but I have checked out the scenes with Tim Curry as Pennywise the demon clown, and thought he was both great and scary.
Now we have the young Swedish actor Bill Skarsgard playing the clown. He is the son of Stellan and the brother of Alexander, from the Swedish comedy “Simple Simon” and last summer’s action thriller “Atomic Blonde.” Both Curry and Skarsgard play the clown with the pure insanity we love to see.
This film version of “It” (because of course the other was made for television) is the best horror movie I have seen this year, so far. There’s a lot going on, and the evil is in almost everything, not just Pennywise, but also sadistic bullies, abusive parents, and the demons which ring it all together.
This time, the movie takes place in 1988-89 (close to when the mini-series aired). Fans may be familiar with little Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) chasing a paper boat down a rainy stream and into a sewer, where he meets Pennywise. He rips the child’s arm off and takes him away, along with many other missing kids.
This movie has the best kid ensemble I’ve seen since “Super 8.” They’re known as The Losers’ Club, consisting of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), Georgie’s older brother; Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the new kid; Beverly (Sophia Lillis), who’s been labeled a tramp after kissing a guy; Richie (Finn Wolfhard), the chatterbox; Mike (Chosen Jacobs), who’s been branded an outsider; Eddie (Jack Dylan Glazer), the hypochondriac; and Stanley (Wyatt Oleff), who has OCD. They are all losers, who have problems of their own, but together, they’re strong.
Director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”) has made “It” look and sound scary. I love the sewer sets and locations; the pure insanity of the demons and clowns keeps you in your seat; the writing allows us to learn about the kids, instead of cramming in their adulthood; these kid actors are great, and Skarsgard does a nice creepy job as Pennywise. This has the kind of Stephen King horror movie magic that “The Shining” possessed.
And back to the “cramming in their adulthood” thing. The movie closes with “Chapter 1,” you know it ain’t over until the clown sings.