Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It (2017 film)

Based on the novel by Stephen King, It is the story of seven children who are terrorized by a mysterious clown as they deal with their fears. Directed by Andy Muschietti and screenplay by Cary Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman, and Chase Palmer, the film is a horror film that play into the disappearance of children where seven of them try to find out who has been abducting them. Starring Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott. It is a riveting and intense film from Andy Muschietti.

Set in the late 1980s in a small town in Maine, the film revolves a series of disappearances that occur where a group of kids deal with this mysterious clown who feeds on the fear of children where seven misfits decide to confront the clown. It’s a film that play into these disappearances that has been going on for months as much of the story set in the small town of Derry, Maine in the summer of 1989 has these seven kids coping with what is happening as one of them believes that it relates to strange events in this town that occurs every 27 years. The film’s screenplay opens with an incident months earlier on October of 1988 where a young boy is chasing a paper sailboat where it falls into a storm drain where he sees this clown in Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgard) and is never seen again.

For that boy’s older brother in Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), he is consumed with guilt over what happened as he is determined to find out what happened to his little brother with the help of his friends in the foul-mouthed Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), the hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Glazer), and the Jewish mysophobe Stan Uris (Wyatt Olef) who are eager to have fun in the summer despite the presence of bullies that is led by the sociopathic Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). Denbrough later meet up with one of the new kids in town in the bookworm Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) following a violent encounter with Bowers as they’re later joined by another outcast in Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) who some believe is a promiscuous teenager that is disliked but is really a victim of sexual abuse from her father. During their investigation and finding answers in which Hanscom believes it all relates to incidents in the town that happened every 27 years. The group would include another outcast in the African-American homeschooled kid Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs) who also sees strange things like the other kids that would play into their fears.

Andy Muschietti’s direction definitely owes a lot to films of the 1980s that involve kids embarking on their adventures yet it has elements that play into something that feels more grounded into the situation they’re in. Shot on various locations in Ontario as well as bits of Toronto as it play into this small town world where everyone kind of knows each other although Hanscom is still a newcomer who baffle librarians due to his interest towards books rather than do what other kids do during the summer. Muschietti definitely infuses that element of nostalgia that is prevalent as it is set mainly in the summer of 1989 where kids would go see the big summer movies of the time or go to an arcade. Muschietti’s usage of the wide shots would play into the vast look of the locations but also in scenes that play into the air of horror that includes the film’s climax involving Pennywise’s secret lair.

Muschietti would also use medium shots and close-ups that play into the interaction with characters that include the boys’ fascination towards Beverly as it adds to their fascination towards girls. Still, it’s an innocent moment despite the awful reputation Beverly has received forcing her to reveal some truths about herself while there are moments in the film that do have elements of humor. Muschietti also play into these chilling moments of violence that relates to the fear of these characters as it include scenes of each fear these seven kids have. Some of it is taken to great extremes while others are psychological as it would lead to this climax of the seven kids going into Pennywise’s lair to confront him but also confront their own fears. Overall, Muschietti crafts an evocative yet unsettling film about a group of outcast kids dealing with a mysterious clown who feeds on the fear of children.

Cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung does amazing work with the film’s cinematography with its usage of stylish lights for some of the interior settings in the day and night where it has a certain tone to it as well as exterior scenes set on a rainy day or at night as it help play into the sense of terror. Editor Jason Ballatine does excellent work with the editing as it uses rhythmic cuts to play into the suspense and horror. Production designer Claude Pare, with set decorator Rosalie Broad plus art directors Brandt Gordon and Peter Grundy, does brilliant work with the look of the mysterious house where Pennywise supposedly lives as well as his lair and the homes of the other characters in the film. Costume designer Janie Bryant does fantastic work with the costumes as it play into casual look of the kids without the need to establish too much of what kids wore in the 1980s.

Makeup designers Alec Gillis, Sean Sansom, and Tom Woodruff Jr. do incredible work with the look of Pennywise to create that air of creepiness and terror. Special effects supervisor Warren Appleby and visual effects supervisor Nicholas Brooks do terrific work with the visual effects with some of the movements of Pennywise as well as parts of his lair that play into its air of intrigue. Sound designer Paul Hackner and sound editor Victor Ray Ennis do superb work with the sound as it help play into the atmosphere of the suspense as well as in some of the chilling moments for the horror set pieces. The film’s music by Benjamin Wallfisch is wonderful for its orchestral-based score that does have elements of synthesizers to play up to the feel of the 1980s while using heavy string arrangements to amplify the suspense and horror while music supervisor Dana Sano creates a fun soundtrack featuring a wide array of music from the Cult, Young MC, XTC, New Kids on the Block, Anvil, the Cure, and Anthrax.

The casting by Rich Delia is remarkable as it feature some notable small roles from Stephen Bogaert as Beverly’s father, Molly Atkinson as Eddie’s worrisome mother, Geoffrey Pounsett and Pip Dwyer as Bill and Georgie’s parents, Stuart Hughes as Officer Butch Bowers who is the father of the bully Henry Bowers, Steven Williams as Mike’s stern grandfather Leroy, Ari Cohen as Stan’s rabbi father, Joe Bostick as the local pharmacist Mr. Keene, Megan Charpentier as Mr. Keene’s daughter Gretta who bullies Beverly, the trio of Owen Teague, Logan Thompson, and Jake Sim as friends of Henry Bowers who are also bullies, and Jackson Robert Scott as Bill’s younger brother Georgie who would be the first to be captured by Pennywise in a chilling moment of the film that is intense to watch. Nicholas Hamilton is terrific as the school bully Henry Bowers as a sociopathic kid with a penchant for violence as he likes to terrorize others for how different they are including Mike because he’s an outcast.

In the roles of the group of outcast kids known as the Losers, there’s Wyatt Oleff in a superb performance as the Jewish mysophobic Stan Uris as a kid who is afraid of a lot of things including a painting that comes to life as his biggest fear while Jack Dylan Grazer is fantastic as the hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak who doesn’t like germs and is allergic to a lot of things as he would have an encounter with Pennywise that is scary while coming to grips with his fears. Chosen Jacobs is excellent as the homeschooled student Mike Hanlon as an African-American kid who delivers meat to stores as he is among the first to see Pennywise while dealing with Bowers. Finn Wolfhard is brilliant as Richie Tozier as a foul-mouthed kid in big glasses who says nasty things while admitting to having a fear of clowns while Jeremy Ray Taylor is amazing as the new kid Ben Hanscom as a bookworm who gathers a lot of the information of the town as he believes something terrible is the reason for these disappearances.

Sophia Lillis is incredible as Beverly Marsh as a teenage girl who is given a seedy reputation in the town which is untrue as she deals with the abuse she receives from her father while she helps the boys in dealing with Pennywise. Jaeden Lieberher is marvelous as Bill Denbrough as a teenager who is trying to find the whereabouts of his little brother while learning about Pennywise as he is the leader of the Losers in some respects in his determination to find truth and make sure no more disappearances happen. Finally, there’s Bill Skarsgard in a phenomenal performance as Pennywise as this dancing clown that is the manifestation of the fears of children where he lives for those fears where it’s a small yet effective performance that has Skarsgard play up to the air of terror that he brings in the film.

It is a sensational film from Andy Muschietti. Featuring a great ensemble cast, gorgeous visuals, uncompromising approach to violence and terror, a chilling music score, and a compelling premise set in the late 1980s. It’s a film that is definitely bear many of the horror tropes expected from the mind of Stephen King while also studying the idea of fear, guilt, and confrontation of those things from the perspective of seven kids who don’t fit in with the ideas of society. In the end, It is a spectacular film from Andy Muschietti.

(It-Chapter Two)

© thevoid99 2018


Becks said...

I really enjoyed the 2017 version of It.
A few years ago I read the book and immediately went on to watch the older movies (review here: https://wp.me/p2DYTl-Hn). I was so disappointed with those!
When I heard about new films being made, I had second thoughts and I was sure that the only way to bring It to the screen is by turning it into a series.
However, I was surprised and impressed with how the new film turned out (review here: https://wp.me/p2DYTl-YQ)! It's really good and I can't wait for the second part!

Chris said...

I have fond memories of the 1990 "It" mini-series which I've watched twice. The acting by the children is great and Tim Curry to me is the ultimate Pennywise-he managed to creep me out.

I guess IT got a remake, and Summer of 84 (2018) got released now, because both are kind of similar to the popular show Stranger Things.