The big screen adaptation of Stephen King’s epic novel It hit theatres last fall, and it was everything we hoped it would be.
If you haven’t read the book or seen the ‘90s miniseries, the story follows a group of children who find themselves terrorized by an evil being that takes the form of their greatest fears. In It's clown form, It is called Pennywise, but It takes on many other terrifying guises throughout the film.
The cast is mostly comprised of newcomers, but their talent shines through and makes the film completely unforgettable. Now that this modern horror classic is available to rent or buy, we’ve put together a list of 5 reasons why you should see It for yourself , and hop right on Stephen King’s scary clown train.
DISCLAIMER: We want to stress that It is not suitable for children. While the main cast is comprised of children and there is technically a clown, the film is rated 14A in most provinces, and 18A in Ontario. There is plenty of swearing, not to mention the graphic horror elements. Wait until the kids go to bed and watch this one with the lights on, folks!
1. If you love the book, you’ll love the movie
Horror master Stephen King’s 1986 book clocks in at a whopping 1138 pages, and is definitely not for the faint of heart. As lovers of the book, we felt the film adaptation did an excellent job of capturing the spirit and uneasy energy that the source material offered. While certain elements have of course been modified or omitted, fans of the book will undoubtedly feel how faithful the cast and crew strove to be to the book. Stay tuned for Chapter 2 of the story, which is currently in pre-production and will follow the Losers' Club as they return to Derry to fight It as adults.
2. Bill Skarsgard is the perfect Pennywise
How do you cast for a role that doesn’t have one definite shape and needs to be utterly terrifying? You cast Bill Skarsgard apparently. The young Swedish actor (brother of Alexander and son of Stellan) absolutely nails it as Pennywise, and so perfectly embodies the gleefully evil child-eating clown that we couldn’t imagine any other actor in the role. Every time you see those monstrous teeth and eerily askew eyes, it’s hard to believe there’s a real actor under there. It seems like the character of Pennywise must have sprung from the depths of a VFX artist’s computer, but it’s all Bill Skarsgard. Kudos to the costume and makeup departments for helping to create one of the scariest movie villains in living memory.
3. The ensemble of young actors are excellent
Finn Wolfhard, Jaeden Lieberher, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Oleff aren’t exactly household names (yet), but they are beyond perfect for the outcasts that King dreamed up for the Losers' Club. There’s no wooden or overwrought child acting here; it’s easy to forget that these kids aren’t seasoned professionals with years’ worth of IMDB credits under their belts. The chemistry between the members of the Losers' Club is critical to the plot, and they seem like an organic group of friends rather than a carefully crafted ensemble.
4. The visual effects and gore are next level
Fans of the book will know that it certainly doesn’t shy away from graphic descriptions of gore and violence. While the film version never takes it too far, it fully embraces the more gorey moments in the story. We can’t begin to imagine the humongous effort and commitment the visual effects and makeup teams had to give, and they deserve a huge amount of recognition and credit for It’s big scares. This movie is Horror with a capital H, and it isn’t afraid to show some scenes that couldn’t make it into the network TV miniseries.
5. It’ll make you want to read the book if you haven’t already
The movie covers a lot of what happens in the book, but there’s a complete other half of the story involving the adult versions of the kids you come to know and love in the film. The book also offers a lot of backstory on each of the characters and their various home lives, which all play into the story in some way or another. Dying to learn a little more about Henry Bowers and his gang of teenage thugs? Want to know more backstory on It itself and how It came to be? Need more terrifying scenes of It as various manifestations of fear? It’s all in the book, and we can’t recommend it enough.