movies

IT: The scariest movie of the year is also the funniest.

While watching the latest adaptation of Stephen King’s IT I was expecting a few things… one freaky ass clown that would haunt my dreams for weeks to come, a bunch of nerdy kids on bikes who would save the day (completely unsupervised by their parents), a whole lot of balloons, and some genuine scares.

But what I wasn’t expecting was laughter – and a whole lot of it. Yep, the film about a killer clown who terrorises and kills tweens is really bloody funny (pun intended).

In IT, director Andy Muschietti has managed to do something that many movies, including comedies, have failed to do this year – and that’s make people genuinely laugh out loud.

stephen king's IT review
The Losers' Club.

Muschietti has taken King's original story and created a Stand By Me/Stranger Things-esque universe where kids on bikes rule the streets and the storyline.

The kids in the Losers' Club are hilarious, self-aware, really likable, and full of one-liners that hit the spot every single time. Muschietti has brought to life characters that are so lovable you actually care when a homicidal clown in need of some serious dental work tries to kill them.

It's the dialogue and the riffing between these main characters that'll keep you laughing throughout the movie and that'll remind you of your own teen friendships and how it used to feel like it was you and your best mates against the world.

Muschiette pays homage to the original story and the era of the book and the first film - so much so that it feels like a movie from the late 1980s/early 1990s - if movies from that era had amazing special effects, huge budgets, snappy dialogue, and a cast of wunderkind child actors.

Added to that is the fact the movie quite smoothly deals with some pretty heavy topics - including the kind of physical bullying that was normalised in the 1980s, child abuse, Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and some serious grief.

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Muschietti was able to create this sweet spot of nostalgia mixed with surprising humour because he only told half of the story in this first film.

Unlike the 1990 movie which closely followed the plot of King's 1986 book, Muschietti only told the first half of the story - where the Losers' Club, as teenagers, discover and eventually conquer Pennywise the clown. We're yet to see them reunited as adults to take on Pennywise for a second time - that means we're in for a sequel, people.

stephen king's IT review
You'll float too.

In the 1990 movie, these storylines were mashed together and the result was some pretty thinly carved out characters, a lot of that shouty, over-dramatic acting that seemed to be popular at the time, and a climax that was pretty unsatisfying.

While Muschietti's version will have you rooting for the Losers' Club right until the final scene and laughing through some of the most horrific moments.

Having said all that IT is still scary AF. This iteration of Pennywise the clown is spooky and some of the illusions he creates are genuinely spine-tingling.

Basically, if you're already scared of clowns, this movie is not going to be the cure. But if you can get past the creepy, homicidal clown, you'll bloody love IT.

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Stephen King's IT is in cinemas around the country now. 

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