Director: Andy Muschietti
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis
Release Date: January 9, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
When children begin to disappear in the town of Derry, Maine, a group of young kids are faced with their biggest fears when they square off against an evil clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries.
Based on the unforgettable novel of the same name by master of terror Stephen King, ‘IT’ tells the story of seven young friends one summer in the late 1980’s who following numerous mysterious disappearances in their home town of Derry, Maine find themselves to be singled out by a terrifying entity that has roots deep within their town. Taking on the appearance of Pennywise The Dancing Clown, along with each of their darkest fears, this ‘Losers Club’ will have to work together and confront their worst fears if they hope to stop IT before they find themselves suffering the same fate as the supposedly lost children before them, while somehow also avoiding the brutal bullies intent on inflicting their own form of suffering.
Directed by Andy Muschietti (Mama) from a screenplay by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman which was of course based upon the novel of the same name by Stephen King respectively, Muschietti does an outstanding job at the helm of ‘IT’ guiding this powerful tale around each moving and terrifying turn. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the talented folks that comprise the cast including Jaeden Lieberher (Midnight Special), Bill Skarsgård (Atomic Blonde), Finn Wolfhard (TV’s Stranger Things), Jeremy Ray Taylor (Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip), Sophia Lillis (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Chosen Jacobs (TV’s Hawaii Five-O), Jack Dylan Grazer (TV’s Me Myself & I), Wyatt Oleff (Guardians of the Galaxy) and more, nearly all delivering noteworthy performances in each of their respective roles, yet Skarsgård easily tends to steal every moment he occupies with his truly brilliant portrayal of Pennywise.
‘IT’ is nothing short of spectacular, a visually gorgeous, creepy and often unsettling film that is also frequently emotional and moving; capturing the tone of King’s novel spectacularly (or at least the first half of it so far) with its ability to carefully balance the terror and the humanity. Allowing plenty of time for us to become thoroughly acquainted with these unique kids and their independent struggles, while never detracting from the insanity with IT; allowing Pennywise to truly do his thing and get downright nasty at times while giggly and goofy at others, Skarsgård never misses a beat and constantly impresses with his breathtaking portrayal of the splendidly creepy entity. As is nearly always unavoidable with film adaptations of our favorite novels, some aspects naturally do differ from the book, but never in a negative way, such as the film’s placement in the 80’s, along with certain manifestations IT takes and a few other elements, though nearly all of these tweaks work remarkably well. As a whole, it certainly stays incredibly faithful to the novel. Director Andy Muschietti does a magnificent job capturing the terror and heart of King’s tale and his capable guidance is perfectly complimented by a talented cast that never disappoints, particularly the truly phenomenal performance by Bill Skarsgård whose spot on portrayal of Pennywise (or IT) is nothing short of amazing. For anyone at all intrigued with the film to begin with, I can’t possible urge you highly enough to give ‘IT’ a chance. It’s a truly magnificent adaption of King’s masterpiece that any fan of his overall work, or simply this novel/story itself won’t want to even contemplate missing out on.
Overall, ‘IT’ is a phenomenal film that delivers in every possible way while also remaining surprisingly faithful to Stephen King’s infamous novel. As much a moving coming of age tale as a horror film, it offers up no shortage of deliciously disturbing moments and plenty of heart and emotion as well, all passionately guided along by director Andy Muschietti and really achieving true magnificence courtesy of Bill Skarsgård’s outright fantastic portrayal of Pennywise/IT which captures the terrifying villain better than anyone could have imagined possible. ‘IT’ easily earns one of my highest possible recommendations, especially for fellow fans of King’s epic novel, along with genre fans and really anyone even moderately interested in the movie. It’s a truly fantastic film that never disappoints and should have no problem whatsoever proving itself more than worthy of both your time and the price of a rental at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘IT’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and offers a sharp, detailed and richly colored presentation from start to finish, with no noticeable faults to be found throughout. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit and fast moving sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that should have no trouble whatsoever pleasing fans and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack offers the perfectly compliment to the film with its crisp, clean and wildly active audio presentation. Constantly taking advantage of all seven available channels in order to send a whirlwind of creepy effects, subtle whispers, aggressive screams and music, along with plenty more regularly whirling throughout the various speakers, and never causing any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements to become distorted or rendered inaudible along the way. Overall, this is an outstanding Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that delivers on every level and contributes tremendously to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘IT’ includes a few noteworthy extras. Included on the release are a collection of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 15 minutes in length altogether) and some Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew (plus King himself!), behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Pennywise Lives!’ (running approximately 16 minutes), ‘The Losers’ Club’ (approximately 16 minutes) and ‘Author of Fear’ (14 minutes).
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Own ‘IT’ Today on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD or Digital from New Line Cinema & Warner Bros. Home Entertainment