Stephen King movies have a weird trajectory. There’s no specific formula to making an adaptation work, a lot of people suggest gutting his work and making something completely new (“The Shining”) but often times that will produce genuinely awful films (“The Dark Tower” from this year). Then again, loyal adaptations can also be a tough sit (“The Shining” miniseries).
The “It” miniseries follows in the vein of some of the earlier works mentioned, it steers clear from the more raucous content of the King novel, in part of when it was airing, but in no small part due to the view on adapting King novels. While my experience with the “It” miniseries is limited to bits and pieces, I remember finding it too camp to get invested in.
This new iteration of “It” ditches some of the camp, but still seems as though it either has not enough or too much. There are a lot of scenes of the child actors running through hallways and getting spooked by some new monster crafter by Pennywise. It has a lot of the same sort of moments happening over and over again, it becomes painful after some time.
Pennywise, a monster from the depths of the sewers is out to kill and harass the children of Derry, Maine. Over the course of summer vacation, a small group of middle school misfits see visions of Pennywise. They are connected by Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), who wants to find out what happened to his missing (believed dead, is dead) brother, Georgie. Things get creepy in a hurry, as all the kids involved begin seeing Pennywise everywhere and the kids they know start dying.
The kids are all delightful. It’s odd when a horror movie gets one good child actor, but “It” has amassed quite a few, at least seven. They’re so good, that they distract from what are supposed to be the horror elements, I personally would have rather just seen them interact with one another and have that be the movie.
Skarsgard isn’t too bad, when you look at his face his casting makes a lot of sense and that comes across in his Pennywise. He isn’t memorable like Curry was but his performance better suits the subject matter.
Ultimately, however, the movie is just too long. With every pop-up scare the momentum declined. By the end, there was little energy left. There are nice things to be said, and it’s not an insult. Maybe a rental.
Written by Jeff Turner