Directed by Andy Muschietti
Serving up a mixed plate composed of the horrific descriptions of “Poltergeist” and the teen adventures of “Stand By Me”,“It” holds our attention for a while but grows fastidiously repetitive and disappointingly predictable as it moves forward.
Andy Muschietti (“Mama”) directs from a script written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman, who joined efforts in the adaptation of Stephen King’s famous novel of the same name.
In this first installment of a planned duology, seven teenagers from Derry, Maine, struggle with the devilish nature of Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), also known by ‘It’, a freaky clown with a massive, sharped jaw and shape-shifting capacities, who is responsible for many local children's disappearances in the town. Feeding on the kids’ fear, he unflaggingly preys on young victims every twenty-seven years.
Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), a sensitive, brave, and stuttering boy whose younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) is among the missing kids, leads a quartet of friends that includes the bigmouthed Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard ), the prudent Jewish mysophobic Stan Uris (Wyatt Oleff), and the overprotected Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer).
They are all bullied by Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) whose pernicious behavior also aims at the fat ‘new kid’, Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), and the African-American Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs). There’s also a girl, Beverly (Sophia Lillis), who joins the good-natured team to escape the constant fear she feels at home in consequence of her father’s unnatural behavior.
Using several illusional stratagems, the supernatural creature terrorizes all of them, except Bowers, who being manipulated instead, becomes a body-and-flesh impersonation of the evil.
Muschietti takes some time to make us involved in this summer adventure and we become fond of the kids, but misfires on several other fronts. The fact that the clown is present everywhere, loses the point and feels gratuitous, leading the initial fun factor to become annoyingly changeless over time. Moreover, some scenes feel more idiotic than scary, like the one that Beverly becomes soaked in blood in her bathroom.
Resorting to tiresome gimmicks, “It” gradually lost the charm previously gained with the genuine unity of a likable group of friends.
This was undoubtedly an improvement when compared to the super uneven “Mama”, but Muschietti still didn’t convince me of his expertise in the horror genre.