This was never going to be my favourite out of the two films as it was never my favourite part of the novel. Why, you may ask? Simply because of what ‘IT’ turns out to be. Now, those of you who know me well, know that I like my monsters to be earthbound in some way. Monsters from outer space just don’t float my boat, no matter how earthly the wrapping.
For the most part, I absolutely loved this film. It’s many years since I‘ve read the novel so I can’t remember how close it is to the original story (but you should know by now, books DO NOT translate exactly to screen), but the story woven is a compelling one.
Twenty-seven years after they thought they’d destroyed Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), the Losers’ Club is pulled back to Derry by the only club member never to leave – Mike Hanlon (Isaiah Mustafa). All return except Stanley Uris (Andy Bean), who struggled to make the pact in the first place. Stan, believing he would be more of a hinderance than a help, simply took himself out of the game.
Twenty-seven years is the feeding cycle of Pennywise, and Mike is alerted to the fact they didn’t destroy it as they believed, when children begin to disappear again. No one who left Derry has any recollection of what happened; all they know is they have a scar on the palm of their hand relating to a pact they made to come back should ‘IT’ return.
No sooner have they returned to Derry than the memories resurface, but when Mike tells them why he called them back, no one wants to stay. It is only by showing Bill Denbrough (James McAvoy) the research he’d done on how to defeat ‘IT’ that Bill persuades Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain), Richie Tozier (Bill Haber), Ben Hanscom (Jay Ryan – yum!) and Eddie Kaspbrak (James Ransone) to stay and defeat ‘IT’ once and for all.
Their task – to each find something significant from their childhood to offer as a sacrifice.
In seeking their sacrifice, each character is drawn back to a point in their past which helps them identify what they are looking for. Once they find it, and this is where the film went off track for me, they are all confronted by some crazed monster (except Bill, who has to face up to Georgie), obviously created by Pennywise to symbolise what they most fear. What the filmmakers should have done is have them face Pennywise.
Once they have their sacrifices, they go to the old house where Pennywise resides as, according to the Indian legend Mike is getting them to follow, Pennywise’s lair is somewhere beneath the house. To destroy Pennywise, they have to get it to appear in its true form. To do that, they need the sacrifices.
As you can imagine, things don’t go the way Mike led them to believe, and not everyone emerges unscathed, but you’ll have to watch it to find out more!
For me, the film isn’t about defeating one ‘real-life’ monster, it is about standing up to your childhood fears and dispelling them. It is about accepting who you are and not being ashamed to show the world. It is about the importance of being you and following your path, wherever that may lead, and not letting anyone or anything derail you in the process. It confirms my viewpoint at the end of the film, when the scars disappear from their palms.
Often, the demons that plague us aren’t real, and by continually telling ourselves this, we will eventually turn them to dust.
A stellar cast proved a great credit to the imagination of my hero – Stephen King.