Directed by: Andy Muschietti
Starring: Jaeden Lieberher, Wyatt Oleff, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs, Nicholas Hamilton, Bill Skarsgård
Runtime: 135 min
From Stephen King's very famous novel of the same name, It is the story of a group of kids that need to face their biggest fears in order to save their city from Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), a terrifying clown that has been murdering people for centuries.
Is this film yet another miserable King's adaptation or is it able to break the most recent curse?
By far, the best Stephen King's movie adaptation I've seen in years ... Well, I'm not saying much having in mind the most recent films, am I? So, to be absolutely clear: It is one of my favorite movies of this year!
The story is very intriguing and mysterious during the whole runtime, therefore it doesn't allow a single dull moment or a misplaced scene. Tonally, the film switches between horror and slight bits of comedy (kids' banter) masterfully since it never feels that the funny moments are forced or without reason.
Andy Muschietti flawlessly directs this movie. I honestly think it's one of those films that without this director, it wouldn't be even close to the success that it achieved. The way he explores and connects each one of the kids' fears and their backstory is truly unique, which elevates the screenplay even more. It's beautifully edited and the unconventional plot transforms It into something special.
Even if Muschietti is technically perfect, the cast steals the whole show. I can't go through everyone, but keep in mind that every single one of the young actors has a fantastic performance. Besides, it's kind of awkward to point out flaws in kids' acting, but thankfully everyone is so great that I don't need to.
Obviously, Bill Skarsgård is freaking terrifying as Pennywise. He's the cinematic proof that clowns can be strangely scary and I'm sure that now kids have a pretty good reason to fear them. Bill doesn't really show up as himself or without CGI that much, but when he does ... He portrays Pennywise brilliantly. From his laugh to his voice, he's perfect. Awesome job!
Jaeden Lieberher plays Bill Denbrough, who is the main protagonist. He's the one that wants to find Pennywise at all costs and make him pay for all his crimes. Bill's story is remarkably emotional and compelling, something that Jaeden interprets amazingly. Sophia Lillis is a beautiful surprise as she represents Beverly Marsh! Her character's family issues and school problems make her feel real and she's probably the one who the audience is able to connect with better. Once again, another breakthrough performance from an unknown actress to me.
Finn Wolfhard is by far the most recognized actor due to the success of Stranger Things. He plays Richie Tozier and if you ever saw one of Finn's interviews, you're not going to be astonished that Richie is basically Finn. He's the funny kid that's always teasing about the others' mothers and he's the main source of comedy through the whole movie. To my delight, he never gets annoying and the script for him is on-point.
Finally, Jeremy Ray Taylor plays Ben Hanscom and he's the chubby kid that everyone loves because he's just so innocent and cute that everything he does and says is simply funny. The actor's expressions are hilarious, especially when he's sharing a scene with Sophia since their chemistry is marvelous.
Actually, the whole cast's chemistry is off the charts, it feels like they have been friends since they were born! I also love the fact that this is a group of kids that entitles itself the "losers" gang since all of them suffer some kind of bullying, either from colleagues at school or from family members. This detail instantly relates to almost everyone in the audience so there's every reason to root for them right from the beginning.
As for flaws, I can't really find anything big. The jump scares work really well, but some just follow the cliche setup and they don't effectively scare me. I might flinch, but apart from one scene that I admit I was caught completely off guard, it's pretty standard.
The one thing that I didn't fancy at all is the way that the bullies are handled. Not that they aren't required, but there are a few moments that seem absurd and too far from reality. I can only understand why one of the bullies is harassing the "losers", but even that one does unimaginable things.
All in all, It is one of 2017's best films and it's undoubtedly the best horror movie of this year. Andy Muschietti flawless directing skills elevate the screenplay and the scary scenes are indeed very creepy. However, the cast strongly shines with special praise to Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor and, of course, Bill Skarsgård as the terrifying and beautifully designed, Pennywise. Excellent tone balance, amazing storytelling and great character development throughout the whole runtime, with the exception of the bullies that seem a bit off and even absurd.