‘It’ Returns As Scarier, Hungrier Pennywise [Review]
It has returned to terrorize a new generation of kids, and he’s scarier, angrier, and hungrier than ever before in the new big screen adaptation of author Stephen King’s classic novel.
As in the book and the 1990 TV miniseries, It is pure evil that can take any form, but his favorite form is Pennywise the Dancing Clown, now played by Bill Skarsgard. Inheriting the menacing role from Tim Curry, Skarsgard runs with it the way Heath Ledger dove head first into The Joker despite the fact that he was following Jack Nicholson’s acclaimed performance.
This Pennywise has sharper teeth, much better special effects, and the R-rated freedom to be as bloody as the book imagined, and the new It is all the more effective for it.
The young actors who make up the “Losers Club” of social misfit kids that team up to face their deepest fears manifested in Pennywise are all outstanding, especially Sophia Lillis, who brings a new toughness to the role of Beverly Marsh, the lone girl in the gang, introduced in this reboot fittingly to the tune of The Cult’s “Fire Woman”.
Jaeden Lieberher is hearbreakingly good as Bill, mourning from the recent death of his younger brother Georgie and lost in a world he barely recognizes, as he awkwardly stumbles through the trials of puberty while his parents drown in their grief.
Jeremy Ray Taylor is also great as future ladies man Ben, the shy new kid in school who is understandably crushing hard on Beverly.
And from the ’80s-set Netflix series Stranger Things, Finn Wolfhard fits right in as the wisecracking Richie in this period piece set in the summer of 1989.
But this is Pennywise’s show, and Skarsgard does not disappoint in frightening the hell out of these kids, and likely most of the audience.
Keep your eyes peeled for an appearance from Curry’s version on Pennywise when Richie enters a room full of clowns, an extra killer Easter egg for fans who came of age with the original film.
It’s been 27 years since the TV miniseries, and, just like in the book, it’s time for It to return from his hibernation to feed on the innocence of the young, reminding the poor cursed town of Derry and movie fans everywhere that there’s not much creepier than a talking clown.
Official Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
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It (rated R) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills through Oct. 19.