8/10 Before I saw this film I wanted to give the 1990 TV movie a second look since I hadn’t seen it in probably 15+ years. It holds up about as well as my grandma’s boobs. Super dated, terribly acted, tonally all over the place, that movie was garbage. The only positive things I can say about it are that Tim Curry as Pennywise is brilliant and the bond that the Losers Club shares is emotionally strong and feels real. Appropriately, 27 years later we have this remake which makes the correct decision of splitting this 1,100 page book into two different movies instead of trying to cram it all into one. Like the 1990 adaptation, the two things that worked then, work here. The best part of this new remake is the bond and friendships that the kids all share together. Their interactions feel realistic and heartfelt. Often Hollywood portrays youth extremely unrealistically (unless you are John Hughes) so this was refreshing to have the film’s heart comes from the kids. All the child actors do a solid job, especially the girl who plays Beverly and the kid from Stranger Things, who provides the most laughter. Like Tim Curry, Bill Skarsgard does an excellent job of playing Pennywise. A little less over the top but still scary, Skarsgard is unrecognizable and really plays off of the fear from the kids and the audience. The production values are also high when it comes to the production design and costume design of recreating the late 1980s (the soundtrack also elevates the movie and gets you into the time period). The score isn’t the most memorable (very few horror film scores are) but it serves the film well enough. Special effects are used but thankfully not overused or too heavily relied upon. There are definitely some scary/creepy moments in the film but that fear instantly dissolves when the credits start rolling. It isn’t so creepy to the point where the fear stays with you for long after the film ends. The few negatives I would say is A) how I just mentioned that it isn’t super scary and the scary moments that are with you won’t linger B) there is a moment that involves a kiss near the end of the film that was pretty ridiculous and made me roll my eyes (it reminded me of movies where someone cries over a body and the tear hits the body and brings them back to life) and C) the kids don’t get equal screen time and development. Every child in the Losers Club gets a good amount of development except for the Jewish kid and the black kid in the group. I wish they could have evened out the development more. Other than those minor issues, the creepy vibe/tone and an unforgettable Pennywise make this film passable. The heart that the film has and the relationship you feel for the kids from them having abusive parents, the loss of a younger sibling or even no parents at all, really connects you to these characters who are innocent kids going through trauma no one should have to go through and is what elevates the film from passable to really good and worth seeing. This is the best horror film of 2017…and I am not clowning around.
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