Saturday, February 24, 2024
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Old-school movie Review: IT 2017

I was sitting in my girlfriend’s mother’s apartment, looking for a movie to watch. The usual monotonous search for something interesting was taking place, the one we all do where we scroll Netflix or Prime Video for hours on end until we eventually take longer than any movie to choose anything, then end up going to bed without getting any screentime in.

Suddenly, though, I flicked over to HBO Max, and there it was. IT. Not the original but the 2017 remake. I remember going to see this movie in the theatre when it was released with some work colleagues and really enjoying it. As my girlfriend is a total nerd about movies (horror being her favourite genre), I figured it might be time to rewatch this present-day retelling of a classic Stephen King story.

The opening scene still hits home with Georgie chasing his paper boat towards the sewer and having a “chance” encounter with the Villanous Clown Pennywise. Georgie, however, thinks this clown is particularly cool … Big mistake, Georgie.

Within minutes, poor Georgie has had his arm savagely ripped off by the sinister Pennywise and is being dragged into the sewer. I forgot how much darker the remake was from the 1990 original; it’s brutal. Bill Skarsgard’s performance is entrancing, if not terrifying. The Swedish actors’ portrayal of this dangerous mad clown is superb. My girlfriend watches some pretty dark and heavy movies, and Skarsgard had her on the edge of her seat, genuinely looking a bit uncomfortable. It’s one of the first times I’ve ever seen a movie do that to her, so that’s a testament to his performance.

Finn Wolfhand of Stranger Things fame is also stellar in this movie, as expected, playing the arrogant and brash Richie Tozer, who, of course, is later revealed to have a good heart deep down inside. Some tropes are fun and worth sticking to. Especially if you find them relatable (I may have to do some self-reflection later).

Going back towards the darker tone of this movie, though, it grapples with some gut-wrenching themes. The school bullies in this aren’t messing around, and after assaulting young teen Ben Hanscome with a knife, managing to carve out a nasty mark on his stomach. Jeremey Ray Taylor’s portrayal of Ben is endearing, and you are always rooting for him as he’s so likeable.

Sophia Lillis and Stephen Bogaert’s scenes (they play father and daughter Beverly and Al Marsh) are probably some of the most traumatic in the movie. Bogaert’s character, Marsh, is an abusive father who is clearly sexually abusing his daughter; the way he speaks to his daughter creeps me out to the core. Although you never see anything on camera, the implication of the action by the dialogue and Lilli’s reaction to her father will chill you to the bone. It’s an uncomfortable scene to watch for the viewer, but the chemistry on screen is palpable. Both actors complement each other wonderfully and tell a heartbreaking and potent story.

Jaeden Martell (Bill) looks like a total badass in this movie. He actively starts to hunt down Pennywise instead of waiting to become a victim of the clown’s twisted deeds. I highly recommend a rewatch if you enjoyed IT the first time, and if you haven’t seen the remake at all, you must give it a go. We all float down here.