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REVIEW: 'It' Will Make You Laugh, Cry and Have You Scared Shitless

By James Fenton

September 14, 2017 at 7:48pm

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Anyone who has seen the original It mini-series of 1990 will likely fall into two categories - those who were scared shitless and never want to see Pennywise The Dancing Clown again and those who were enamoured with Stephen King's terrifying story and couldn't wait for the 2017 version to come out. 

Just like the the gap between part 1 and part 2 of the aforementioned made-for-tv horror, it's now been 27 years since we last met the shape-shifting entity who was originally played by Tim Curry. 

This time, the terrifying clown is played by Bill Skarsgard who defies his mere 27 years by putting in a performance so convincing that is sure to stick in the memory of anyone who sees it. 

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With an evil grin reminiscent of Heath Ledger's Joker and a voice that will remind you of fingernails on a chalkboard, it's a credit to the cast of It that Skarsgard barely even emerges as the star of the show. 

While It is being marketed as a horror, and rightly so as there are scares aplenty (mostly minor, to be honest), it's very much a coming-of-age drama depicting seven young teenagers in the town of Derry who are learning to cope with a number of issues including bereavement, bullying, puberty, as well as overbearing and downright abusive parents. 

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In the opening scene, set in on a rainy October day in 1988, we meet Billy (Jaeden Lieberher) and his younger brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) and it's clear that they share a strong sibling relationship. Billy is the caring older brother who is worshipped by the seven-year-old Georgie and it's the love they share for each other that sets up the premise for the whole movie. 

Sometimes while watching scary films involving children, audiences can take solace in the fact that the little ones will generally remain relatively unscathed but, without wanting to give too much away, It flips this comforting scenario on its head. 

Whether in fiction or real life, any harrowing situation is made worse when children are involved but that's not to say It is grim from start to finish.

The young cast who play the self-styled 'Losers' Club' hold the story together while providing plenty of comic relief, mostly in the form of 'your ma' style jokes which will raise sniggers among Irish audiences. 

In particular, the hilarious Finn Wolfhard (who many will know from Stranger Things) and Jack Dylan Grazer bounce off each other as the two loudmouths of the group, providing tension-breaking foul-mouthed jibes which wouldn't be out of place in an episode of The Inbetweeners

The real heart of the story though is provided by Lieberher and Sophia Lillis who plays the cigarette-smoking victim of bullying, Beverly Marsh. As Billy, Leiberher puts in a star turn as the leader of the group who is haunted by a sense of loss and guilt while Beverly has to face up to a number of issues, predominantly growing up with an abusive father who rivals Pennywise as the real villain of the movie. 

Despite all this, Bev brings a ray of light into the social group and pretty much all of the Losers' Club fall for her instantly when she starts hanging around with them during the summer of 1989. New Kids On The Block superfan Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) takes a particular shine to her when he's not busy researching previous mysterious goings-on in Derry or being terrorised by local bullies known as The Bowers Gang.

The most terrifying thing about It is that Pennywise The Clown preys on the individual fears of each member of the Losers' Club and each one is given the opportunity by director Andy Muschietti to completely steal at least one scene. 

If you're reluctant to catch the film as you generally hate horror, be assured that It won't give you sleepless nights. Even the scariest scenes are watered down, perhaps to the movie's detriment, by the wisecracks of the kids. There's nothing like a fearless young teen shouting "asshole" at a murderous clown to bring a sense of relief to proceedings. 

Set in small-town American summertime, It will remind you of those summer holiday capers of the 80s and 90s such as My Girl and Stand By Me, where kids end up embarking on madcap adventures driven by a sense of boredom and an insatiable desire to grow up. 

It will make you laugh, make you cry and scare the shit out of you and the musical score by Benjamin Wallfisch is nothing short of tremendous. If you're doing nothing else this weekend make sure to catch it at your nearest cinema. 

Audiences who have seen already seen the movie are absolutely raving about it and it's one of those films which has people coming out of cinemas wondering when they can see it again. They'll all be glad to know that a sequel is in the works. 

P.S. stick around for a post-credits teaser. Just remember... You'll float too. 

READ NEXT: Here's Why We Can All Relate To The Quarter Life Crisis - A.K.A "My Life Is In Ruins"

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