In our positions at the Australasian Horror Writers Association (‘AHWA’) we are massive supporters and see ourselves as advocates for the horror genre in Australia and New Zealand. Which is why when the fantastic team at Roadshow Films recently approached us with some tickets for an advanced screening of IT – based on the novel written by Stephen King we jumped at the opportunity.
Movies, are very subjective either you like them or you don’t. What I personally like in a movie the next person reading this may not. And therefore the entire idea of this review of IT isn’t to talk about the movie itself – as those reviews can be read elsewhere and in far more detail – we have decided to take this opportunity, and advantage of the kindness of the team at Roadshow Films and produce a review based on the writing, and character development of the film.
The screenplay written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman takes an advantageous turn away from the ‘original’ despite the original ‘film’ being a mini-series. The trio of screenwriters opted to focus more on the children’s side of the story rather than the mini-series’ previous incarnation which focused on both children and the adults of Derry.
The film, directed by the talented Andy Muschietti, saw just the right mix of comedic moments as well as jump scares which should suit both horror film fans and those who are dragged along to watch it as part of date night.
Character Development in film, is just like in books, and can play a crucial part as to whether your audience gets hooked on the story you want to tell or not. Characters can also make or break your story.
The film, through its screenplay and directing, had just the right amount of development dialogue which was enough to not only introduce you to the characters, but also get a feel for each of their individual personality traits.
The introduction, and performance by Bill Skarsgård, of Pennywise – the shape shifting supernatural being that comes out to terrorise the fictional town of Derry every 27-years showcased not only the writing, acting and directing brilliance but brought its viewers into the story – one moment feeling safe and jovial the next scared and jumpy.
In saying all of this however there was one actor that really stood out in the opinion of this reviewer, that of Sophia Lillis who portrays Beverly Marsh.
Sophia is one of the highlights of the film, alongside Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise and the other child actors, however, to begin with her character is a little hard to follow. Which someone sitting down to watch IT for the first time may have trouble with and could affect their overall reaction to the movie.
Beverly from the get-go looks older, is tormented by people who look around the same age, however somehow turns out to be the same age as the fellow cast members in their battle with Pennywise. Now while the performance turned in by Sophia Lillis is remarkable the truth is it was very hard to believe that she was the same age as those she was hanging around with and many that were spoken to following the screening thought originally she was based at the age of the older tormentors.
Despite the difference in age gap on the screen the writing brought her back into the realm of the younger age bracket, the actors and actresses produced a remarkable performance to tie what on paper could have read as an ordinary scene into something special on screen.
All and all the ability to adapt a Stephen King novel into what they have is remarkable. The writers have done a magnificent job adjusting the focus of the original mini-series to be more focused on the children – leading many to believe an IT 2 will be coming in the near future with the other side of the story.
Character Development and the plotted story line were well crafted and well worth watching the movie in its own right.
This is a must watch film for any horror fan – although some wont like it, as we all love to hate remakes, if there is only just one remake you watch it has to be IT.