Early reactions for IT are in. It’s never easy adapting a novel to film. So many details have to be left out or adjusted to the new format. And when a novel is well over a thousand pages long, deciding what to keep and what to cut is a harrowing job to say the least. That is the very position that the creators of IT found themselves in, making Stephen King’s epic novel into a film.
IT has of course been adapted once before, to a six hour miniseries. Plagued by a low-budget, the earlier adaption has mixed reviews, with the special effects being panned but one specific performance praised: Tim Curry as Pennywise – an evil clown who is not really a clown at all. It’s not uncommon for people who were young when the miniseries was released to blame Curry for their coulrophobia – fear of clowns. So not only was the filmed remake under pressure to be better than the miniseries, it also needed a Pennywise who could do something different than Curry and still give just as terrifying a performance.
Well, the social media embargo has been lifted, and the critics are saying that director Andrés Muschietti and the team behind IT have succeeded in making a truly frightening film. Many early viewers took to Twitter with their initial reaction,and here are just a few of them:
I can say I saw #IT tonight. And IT was great. Cast is excellent. And, yes, 🤡is scary! This will be a, ahem, monster at the box office.— Jim Vejvoda (@JimVejvoda) August 26, 2017
Thrilled I can now say that IT is spectacular. Totally terrifying, but also amazing fun (the Losers are PERFECT). Top 10 candidate for me. pic.twitter.com/XjQHyNmSEq— (((Eric Eisenberg))) (@eeisenberg) August 26, 2017
#ITMovie is everything I hoped for & more. Has heart, laughs & TONS of incredible scares. Fell in love w/ The Losers. Didn't want it to end.— Perri Nemiroff (@PNemiroff) August 26, 2017
Saw #ITMovie I loved it.— Mark E Reilly (@ReillyAround) August 26, 2017
Then took trash out in my empty, dark, stairwell...
SHIT FREAKED ME OUT CAUSE THAT MOVIE SCARED ME LIKE FOR REAL
I love the #ITMovie. It's everything I wanted. Scary as shit, Skarsgard nails Pennywise, and the Losers are perfection.— Haleigh Foutch (@HaleighFoutch) August 26, 2017
been wanting to tweet this for some time now. To Andy Muschietti and the rest of #ItMovie cast, you made something terrifying w/ a heart— Luis Alvarez (@squallluis) August 26, 2017
As you can see, the movie frightened many a veteran horror movie reviewer. But even beyond the scares, these reviewers sound like they were entertained overall by a movie with heart and humor as well as scares. Much praise was often given to the cast, including Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise. The rest of the main cast consists of child actors, and they are just as lauded.
This is good news for the filmmakers, who were planning on a sequel before the first film was ever made. In the book, about half the action takes place with the seven main characters as children and the other half is set 27 years later – once they have grown up. In order to handle the length of the novel, the plan was always to make two films, one with the characters as children and a sequel with them as adults. Good reactions are a good sign that the movie will do well enough to make that intended sequel a sure thing – as predicted already with the opening weekend projections.
It’s also a win for Stephen King, who could probably use one after the underwhelming critical reactions to this year’s earlier adaption of The Dark Tower. When you have been one of the most successful writers in the world for decades, unfortunately not every film adaption can be a winner. It sounds as though IT is a winner though, and that fans have some amazing scares to look forward to.
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