A couple of weeks ago, I went to see the new IT movie in celebration of getting Errant Gods successfully uploaded for publication. I promised “more later” to my Facebook fan page, and today, in celebration of finishing my final final-proof (until there’s another one), I figured I’d write a review of the film.
Let me start by saying that I feel sorry for the filmmakers of Stephen King books. The books are so complete, so filled with scary imagery and creepy description that the films have a hard time even equalling Mr. King’s work. This film, however, has no problem matching King’s imagination, and in some cases, surpassing it. I sat in the theater, loving this film as it unraveled, and at times, even I (a horror writer and longtime King fan) thought: “now that’s creepy!”
I went to the film, not knowing anything about the cast or production crew. I do that sometimes because I like to be surprised by the performers. All through the film, every time I saw Pennywise, I thought something like “this guy is good!” He looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him. I kept thinking he was doing Mr. King’s version of Pennywise serious justice — in fact, all the “not that’s creepy” moments I mentioned above involved Pennywise. I’m about to mention the author’s name, so if you don’t want to know, avert your eyes (skip the next two paragraphs)!
When I went home, I looked up the cast of the movie and discovered that Pennywise was played by none other than Bill Skarsgård. He also played some kind of novice vampire-thing in Hemlock Grove and has played rolls films such as Atomic Blonde, Allegiant, and Anna Karenina. The man’s got range, and he comes by it naturally. He’s the son of Stellan Skarsgård and brother to Alexander Skarsgård and Gustaf Skarsgård.
Tim Curry played Pennywise in the original movie, and Skarsgård is on record saying “Tim Curry’s performance was truly great, but it’s important for me to do something different because of that. I’ll never be able to make a Tim Curry performance as good as Tim Curry.” I don’t think he has to worry about making a performance as good as Mr. Curry’s… In my opinion, Skarsgård’s performance has set a new bar for creepy clown characters.
The Losers were portrayed by great young actors. My particular favorites were Sophia Lillis, who plays Beverly, and Jeremy Ray Taylor, who plays Ben Hanscom. I was amused by the scenes of the male Losers sneaking looks at Bev and competing for her attention. The only flat spot for me was the performance of Nicholas Hamilton who plays Henry Bowers, and only towards the end. He just didn’t pull off psycho-Henry for me.
Overall, I give this movie 13.5 out of 5 stars. If you want to be entertained and don’t mind being creeped out a bit, go see this film.
(see what I mean? You go, Pennywise!)