Arts & Leisure

“It” again pits plucky kids against horror

“THE LOSERS CLUB” from the horror film “It,” adapted from the Stephen King novel.

By Jim Tortolano

If you are in a Stephen King movie, don’t expect any hope from the old folks.

As is common in films adapted from his best-selling horror novels, “It” is a film about plucky kids who solve – or at least survive – the scary mysteries that haunt small communities in New England.

This one is set in the old town of Derry, which has a long history of disaster, corruption and mayhem. The adults mostly just seem to have gotten blasé about the whole thing, even though children are disappearing faster than sausage and peppers            at a Mafia sitdown.

“It” is set in the 1980s, and revolves around a half-dozen junior high-ish youngsters who are the objects of abuse and derision, and call themselves “The Losers Club.” They are reluctantly drawn together when the younger brother of one of the six disappears, apparently snatched into a storm drain by a maniacal clown with a lot of bad habits and hungers.

The cast reminds one of a cross between “The Goonies” and those All-American platoon movies from the Forties, which had a variety of stereotypical characters. What they have in common are loser parents who range from the creepy to the abusive to the smothering.

Standing out in this ensemble is the spunky redhead Beverly (Sophia Lillis). She is the first to demonstrate to the nerdy boy brigade something about standing up for yourself and therefore helps bind the team together.

The widespread revulsion lots of people feel toward clowns is leaned upon heavily here. Bill Skarsgard plays Pennywise, the menacing harlequin with quite an overbite. Despite being buried under pounds of makeup and costume, he ably telegraphs hair-raising menace.

Of course, there are some cliché moments here. There’s the mean older kids in the Camaro bullying the noble nerds. There are the “don’t go in there” moments and the ever-so-handy decrepit house they are drawn into.

But as far as it goes, this is a well-done movie adaptation (Andy Muschetti was the director) that holds your attention. So much so that at the conclusion of the film “It” promises a part two, just in case you didn’t get enough of maniacal laughter, kids in mortal danger and quaint small towns in Maine with deep dark secrets.

“It” is rated R for horror violence, profanity and thematic elements.

 

 

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