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There’s no question about it–Stephen King is a phenomenal author famous for his novels that are jam packed with mystery, intrigue, horror and page turning material that keeps fans on the edge of their seats and stamps incredible realism in the form of characters and themes on their hearts.
When the newest film version of his acclaimed horror novel It was announced there was a great deal of anticipation. With a fantastic story fueling the onscreen action its hard to go wrong in a movie adaptation.of one of his works. With hits such as as The Shining, The Green Mile, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption heralding the way, It promised to be just as poignant and effective.
It should be noted however that not all television and movie adaptations of King’s works are automatically destined for success. For instance, The Dark Tower was released only a few weeks ago and really could not be taken seriously. You can read my review on that film here.
Like many folks, I was excited to see the film. While I normally don’t do horror movies because of the weak plots, campy characters, and cheap tricks, the Stephen King label was enough to tantalize me. However with a hurricane bearing down on us in West Palm Beach on Saturday and Sunday, I figured it might be a while until I was able to see it.
However, thanks to an awesome hook-up from a friend I got an opportunity that I never would have bargained for. Last night I was able to see a pre-screening of the film along with the press and about a hundred other folks who settled in under warnings of electronic devices being turned off in order to see the film before everyone else.
Of course I would be amiss if I wasn’t to review this film for the Daily Diatribe. So for the first time to date you have the opportunity to read a review before you have a chance to see the movie!
Let’s dive in…
A lot of these points I covered in the very first episode of the new Daily Diatribe podcast that aired last night but for those of you who haven’t had the time to listen to it yet here are some of the highlights of my thoughts.
- This adaptation is very well done. It’s fresh, intriguing, well developed, and yes–quite scary. While it does utilize some of the typical conventions of horror films such jump scares, intimidating soundtracks, and flashing images, the film also makes use of some intense psychological fear that is creatively manifested and impressively executed. What sets this film apart from other horror films (besides the fact its based off of a book written by one of the greatest fiction writers of all time) is that it presents a wonderfully realistic view into a sleepy town and the citizens that occupy it. The key to a good horror movie in my mind is to make the normal world seem so true-to-life that when supernatural horror enters into the picture. This film grips you in every way–not just in terror.
- The characters are fleshed out so well, and the situations they find themselves in other than the supernatural are so true to life that when the horror is introduced it makes it seem so much more authentic. There are some wonderfully genuine moments that make the film so much more than a horror flick. It’s a story about childhood fear, the coming of age, and the character traits needed to face ones fears and conquer them. With a film consisting primarily of child actors, the perfection presented in the casting is an impressive feat that should not be ignored. All the actors fit their parts so well, that you feel like you know them personally, causing you to be personally invested in their personal struggles and of course their interactions with Pennywise the sadistic clown. I loved these characters and the actors who played them–you will too! On that note, Pennywise is creepy as all get out. Excellent casting a and portrayal!
- Visually the film is phenomenal. The make-up, costumes, special effects, and setting are all incredibly authentic and give way to a wide array of feeling and emotions. The film sucks you into its world and experiences and does not let go.
This film adaptation isn’t good–it’s great. The primary element of horror being mixed with the microcosm of life presented in the lives and hearts of seven kids not only works as a highly entertaining, pulse-pounding thriller, but also a tale filled with valuable lessons about growing up, family loyalty, the value of friendship, and facing your fears. If you’re scared of clowns–go anyway! The film will encourage you not to run away from the things that terrify you but toward them–causing them to run away in the face of courage. It’s a genuinely passionate, endearing film that will pull on every single one of your emotional strings.
Need more convincing? Stephen King himself has endorsed the film. He even opens the movie by talking about how he loves the Andy Muschietti’s vision and how impressed he is with the young cast. When you have the author approving your work you know you’ve made a banger. By the way, Stephen King doesn’t like all the adaptations of his books. He notoriously hates Stanley Kubrik’s The Shining.
Daily Diatribe Rating: 9/10