Stephen King’s ‘It’ — Review

Lachie Siemsen

Many fear the things that go bump in the night, but what if those things could be anything? A shape-shifting clown that manifests itself into the deepest fears of those it preys upon before murdering them? That’s the basis for the film adaptation of the King of Horror’s novel, ‘It’.

The film explores the lives of a group of children from Derry, a small town in Maine, through flashbacks from their adult lives. The kids are being haunted by a ravenous clown that has begun abducting and murdering some of the other local children. These children form what becomes ‘The Loser Club’ as they all struggle to deal with the appearances of Pennywise the Clown in their daily lives. As the film jumps back and forth between the children and their future adult selves, it provides a clear understanding of the impact that Pennywise had on each of these kids. The performance by Tim Curry as Pennywise was one of the most unsettling aspects of the film. Every time he’s on-screen it feels as though you’re looking at the evil child of Ronald McDonald and Krusty the Clown… not exactly the most ideal image to lie awake at night thinking about.

The film is riddled with captivating and unsettling sequences that maintained King’s well renowned style of horror. It holds you from start to finish and remains to be a classic film of the horror genre, burdening audience’s minds long after the end credits roll. All of the stars of the film convey the emotions of the characters effectively and at times audiences are seamlessly transported within Derry, all of this is aided by incredible set design and cinematography.

The initial release of the film was a two-part mini-series and so the run-time is quite long for a film of this genre. In the film’s defence however, with source material exceeding 1000 words, a 192-minute duration is a pretty damn good effort.

The biggest negative for the film is the ending. The incredible build up developed through acts one and two deserved a far more satisfying pay-off. As the adult version of ‘The Loser Club’ takes on Pennywise one last time (you’ll have to watch yourself to know how this turns out), it just doesn’t maintain the same weight as the rest of the film.

Nonetheless, ‘It’ stands out as a must see horror classic if you’re interested in the genre, or just looking for a good scare. According to the novel’s mythology, Pennywise appears every 27 years to terrorise society, and with this September marking the 27 year anniversary of Pennywise’s last appearance, one can only wonder where ‘It’ will pop up next…

I rate “It” 3 and a half evil Krusty the Clowns out of 5 Ronald McDonalds.