Words Wal Reid

Argentinian director Andy Muschietti has done a wonderful job of revamping Pennywise the “dancing clown” into the 21st century, the likes not seen since Tim Curry played the circus performing maniac in Stephen King’s nineties miniseries of the same name.

Is he scary? You bloody bet. I was a bit dubious of Atomic Blonde’s young Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård pulling this one off, but my worse fears were allayed as the opening scenes cemented this performance as one of the best scares I’ve seen in a long time. Think of it as ‘The Goonies meet Freddy Krueger’ – but darker.

It was 27 years ago since the miniseries and this is the first film adaptation, coincidently, the release date nicely fitting the storyline of Pennywise the child eating clown, who reappears every 27 years in the town of Derry, Maine to entice little kids by way of their worst fears. The cast of relative unknown is also refreshing, and for some will propel them to stardom.

Some solid performances by the mostly under-16 kids in the “Loser’s’ club who plot to bring down and rid the town of the horrific clown scourge. Actress Sophia Lillis is a Hollywood find. Her role as Beverly Marsh stood out for me, her nubile charm had an Amy Adams resonance to her, while TV’s Finn Wolfhard who plays Mike Wheeler from Stranger Things, didn’t seem too out of place on this film as Richie Tozier who has the best lines & pottiest mouth on a teen.

The film adaptation of the book is probably the best around and will be hard to knock off, it will also no doubt, resurrect clown phobia panic thanks to the menacing Pennywise. If you haven’t read King’s book or old enough to see the miniseries, no problem, this film as well as being a great scare is easy to watch as you find yourself absorbed for a couple of hours, transfixed into the life of the teens from Derry.

I was looking forward to the film and wasn’t disappointed. The thought of this country being led by a National government for the next four years isn’t as scary as Pennywise, but scary none the less (now that would be Sh-IT). Good to see also that there is another film in the making that will reunite the Loser club as adults – got to milk that franchise tap. Yep, the Terror is REAL.