It (2017)

I never read It, Stephen King’s 1,138 page novel about the evil that lurks in (and underneath) the city of Derry, Maine. Instead, I opted for the four-hour mini-series that aired in 1990. From what I understand, that version did an okay job of taking the highlights from a 1,138 page book and condensing it into a four-hour television mini-series.

According to legend, every 27 years the evil that haunts the city of Derry returns. True to form, 27 years after the release of the mini-series, it — It — has returned, this time to theaters.

In the film, seven young teens known as the Loser’s Club discover that they have all experienced an evil being that inhabits their town. As more and more children from the town begin to go missing (including the younger brother of one of the main characters), the Loser’s Club decide that they are the ones who must fight the evil within Derry. The seven teens face push back from adults and are frequently harassed by an older group of teens, but in the end Pennywise the Clown will be the worst thing they face.

It’s impossible to compare 2017’s version with the mini-series, and impossible not to. The original was made for television with a budget to match, and was more creepy than scary. The 2017 version has several advantages, including CGI, an R-rating, and a Hollywood budget. In the original, Pennywise the Clown snarled at children to reveal a set of prosthetic fangs before the camera faded to black; in the 2017 version, his head bends open to reveal a computer generated mouth containing a thousand teeth while teenagers scream and drop f-bombs.

Two major differences to note: first, while the original and the book take place in the late 1950s, the 2017 version is set in the late 1980s. That updates the cars and pop culture references, but doesn’t change the story (although it does give the film a decidedly Stranger Things look). The other major difference is that the 2017 movie is only the first half of the 1990 mini-series. In the original (and the book), the kids return to Derry 27 years later to face It again as adults. Modern audiences will have to wait until 2018/2019 to see the second half.

For a horror movie, It wasn’t bad. My kids, who have never read the book nor seen the original mini-series, both loved it. The latest version is more faithful to the book in some parts and less in others. If you’re looking to complain about differences between the 1,138 page source material and this two hour film, I’m sure you’ll find plenty to sink your teeth into. On the other hand if you’re simply out for two hours of entertainment and a few jump scares, Pennywise is waiting for you in the sewer.

After all, they all float down there…

2 Responses to “It (2017)”

  1. Craig Says:

    I’m you’ve heard this, but you gotta read the book, Flack-o. It’s a wonderful piece of work. No more can touch it.

  2. Craig Says:

    *Movie…no movie can touch it.

    My fingers are, like, Vienna Sausages.