ROGER THOMAS FILM REVIEW: ‘It’: A horror story that has spawned several versions

Published 2:00 pm Thursday, September 12, 2019

“It” first came out as a novel written by Stephen King and published in 1986. The novel had more than 1,100 pages.

“It” is a horror epic, with new fans discovering it with each generation. Right now in theaters there are new fans discovering the latest version of the second half of “It.”

Roger Thomas

The first film version was a television mini-series of the story produced for ABC in 1990.

The mini-series did not use the scariest element of the novel. In the original book, the murderous entity “Pennywise” could turn himself into anything that scared a person the most. The fact that Pennywise could alter his appearance was one of the best elements of the story. Actually, it was the best element in the story.

Over 30 years, the story has been revived. The first half of the story came out in 2017 in theaters. Now, “It 2” concludes the new version of this horrific saga.

There are many assets to this version of the thriller. All the talented children or young teenagers carry the story.

They are cast well and they create terror and courage both at different times and sometimes at the same time. These actors include Jaeden Maetell, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Chosen Jacobs and Jeremy Taylor.

The adults who play the youth after they have grown up are a good match for the roles of the younger actors. This list includes Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafe, Jay Ryan, James Ransone and Andy Bean.

However, the one actor who truly stands out in the film is Bill Skarsgard who plays Pennywise. Skarsgard truly brings a frightening moment whenever he appears on the screen.

There are other elements of the film that stand out. The settings and the production design should take some of the audience back in time. According to the novel, the story begins in 1955.

There are other elements of the film that are noteworthy. There is good use of music from the era. The humor which comes between the horror is often good.

Most of all there is one element that shines in the film. Between the horror, the violence and the scares, something shines in the story: Friendship.

There are a lot of good moments, but the best ones are of the children when they are together and sharing their courage.

With those thoughts, however, there are also a few things that fell short.

The film is too long. At 169 minutes, that film could have been shaved easily. Each character had to have their own scene, but that extended the film further than it should have been. Repetition could have shaved the film and it would have been fine. Afterall, this is the second part.

However, for the most part, it is the best version of “IT” we have.

Besides, there may never be a film version of “It” that shows the story with all the things that scare children and sometimes adults, but maybe there will be one when a creative director decides to make one more version of “It.”

Roger W. Thomas of Albemarle reviews films for The Stanly News & Press.