I’ve been reviewing Blu-ray movies for the last couple of years now, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Of the dozens of reviews I’ve ever written, I don’t think I’ve ever done one out of spite – that is, until now. You see, I recently stumbled across a review for IT on another review site that was basically a copy/paste of the Wikipedia page. So I felt the need to write up my own review out of protest.
Today, I’ll be looking at the 4K UHD Best Buy exclusive Steelbook® release of IT. If steels aren’t your thing, you can also get the Target exclusive with a lenticular cover, or the standard Blu-ray release. For the most part, the packaging is the main difference between these versions. But without further adieu, one of my favorite horror films of 2017… IT!
IT (2017) is the second adaptation of the wildly popular Stephen King novel. Many were confused or reticent when it was announced, as the 1990 two-parter is widely considered to be a horror classic, and Tim Curry’s portrayal as Pennywise is almost the epitome of scary clowns.
This modern reimagination departs from its predecessor by focusing solely on the events of 1988 (a few decades after the original), where a group of misfit kids bands together to face a dreadful evil that plagues the town of Derry, Maine every 27 years. Where the prior entry would interweave this storyline with the present day, we’re instead set up for an eventual sequel that we will likely be getting in 2019, and will most assuredly focus on their adult return to Derry.
As mentioned, the town is going through a string of missing children, and several others are seeing strange things that seemingly come from their worst nightmares. This is where our ragtag group of friends band together and decide to confront this evil which has taken the guise of Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
Along the way, each must face their fears, as well as local bullies, overprotective mothers, abusive fathers, and their own internal struggles. This all leads to a particularly frightening lair of the beast as it were.
When it comes to remakes, reboots, or re-imaginations, it can be really hard to pass judgment on quality. No matter what you do, there will be fans who dislike change, and those numbers grow wildly when the original was a classic. However, this might be an exception to the case. I won’t say that everyone out there liked this as much or better than the original, but I will say that the reactions across the board are quite a bit more positive than were to be expected, and that is for good reason.
Andy Muschietti, this film’s director has opted to add a more comical bond between characters, particularly in Richie’s character (played by Finn Wolfhard from Stranger Things fame), who was a comedian in the original, but rarely made the audience laugh. Here, Richie is constantly spouting off with crude innuendos and lightening the scenes up just enough to bring a smile to your face and just in time to have it wiped right back off by a sequence of dread. The combination is great, and Wolfhard absolutely steals the show when he is on screen.
The scares are perhaps a bit shallow when compared to Curry’s phobia-inducing performance. There are several jump scares throughout the film that feel a bit rote, and I am still on the fence on a couple of camera tricks that were used in the attempt to creep the audience out. I will say this, though, I applaud them for experimenting with character movement as a means of unsettling the viewer.
As a big fan of both the original film and the source novel, I am pleased to say that this iteration is definitely a worthy venture and a welcome surprise. I highly encourage all horror fans to give this one a shot, even if you are wary about reboots.
As with almost every 4K film I’ve seen, this movie looks pretty much incredible, especially with an HDR enabled panel. The dark scenes (of which there are many) stay very dark but don’t lose much, if any, detail. The colors are all vibrant and exciting, as well. The only problem here is that you might not want to see Pennywise in such clear quality…
Dolby Atmos fans will be pleased to see the inclusion here, and the film makes great use of the format. There are a surprising number of scenes with very immersive sound in this film. You will absolutely notice minute details and a plethora of detailed sound effects from all channels.
- Pennywise Lives! – a look at Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown
- The Losers’ Club – a closer look at the young cast
- Author of Fear – Stephen King talks about the origins of IT
- Deleted Scenes
- UV Code
IT Final Thoughts:
It’s really easy to dismiss a remake or reboot these days, as they are pretty bad, more often than not. IT, however, is a rare example of one done right, against all odds. Fans of the original or the book will likely both enjoy the vigor, while horror fans who are new to the horrors of Pennywise will find out exactly why everyone else is terrified of clowns…