IT: Almost a perfect horror film for kids
The film is a tasteful adaptation of the eponymous book that is also delightfully old school in its execution
A little less gore, and none of the swearing, and I would have quickly billed IT the perfect introduction to horror cinema for kids. If you slice it at the seams, it's practically a movie version of a Five Find-Outers book (Enid Blyton, for the uninitiated), with a crazy clown roaming the sewers and chomping on kids, thrown in.
There are plenty of folks who may argue that this kind of horror is tepid, not quite grandiose as far as modern horror goes and 'kiddish' even. To them, I say: there's great joy in watching a horror movie that has a story, an ACTUAL story, and one that doesn't resort to histrionic sound effects and spurts of dark blood to creep you out.
Cast: Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Skarsgard, Finn Wolfhard
Director: Andy Muschietti
Adapted rather tastefully, and rather delightfully old school-y from Stephen King's book, IT is set in the town of Derry, a one-horse town that started off as a mining camp. Disasters seem to strike every three decades or so (27 years, as we are told later) and children go missing during those dark, destructive periods of time.
There's no real suspense about who's doing all the kidnapping (though if you see his teeth, you'd probably describe it as kid-snapping). Right at the start, a kid called Georgie encounters a clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) and meets his gnarly end.
A year later, his stammering brother Bill is still battling guilt at having let him go alone. It's the late 80's and Anthrax tees and AIDS scares are hot topics. His band of 'losers' are trying to stay cool and away from the bullies all at once. And then the clown starts to haunt them. Individually. Preying on their fears.
What's refreshing about IT is that without burdening you with too many backstories and smaller plot lines, director Andy Muschietti still manages to weave in plenty of intrigue to all the characters: a girl molested by her lecherous dad, a wimpy kid raised by his hypochondriac mom, a Jewish kid who is petrified of a painting in the Rabbi's chamber. And that's what makes IT exceptionally enjoyable.
Special shout out to the sound design. This movie wouldn't have been perfectly balanced without the minimalist music that doesn't rely heavily on loud noises to make you jump. Just a creepy clown's laugh and some haunting orchestration do the trick. The kids also do a great job - their acting is on point and there's plenty of coming-of-age humour that keep things light. Stephen King would definitely enjoy this.