Reviewed by Colin Jacobson and Blake Kenny (September 25, 2016)
Many of Stephen King’s books seem so epic in scale that they can’t fit the standard two-hour film frame. This means his works suit the TV mini-series format, and 1990’s It offers one of those efforts.
For a television show that originally spanned two nights and offered about three hours of content, Stephen King’s It actually tells a simple story. Much of the show takes place in 1960, a time when strange events affect the small, quiet town of Derry, Maine.
More and more young children go missing and some end up horribly mutilated. Only a few residents begin to suspect the truth behind these activities.
The plot basically follows the exploits of seven kids, six boys and one girl who call themselves the “Losers Club”. Nerdy outcasts, the horror that affects the town – and their social status – brings them together and creates a lifelong bond.
Each one of them experiences grisly hallucinations at the hands of a sadistic clown known only as Pennywise (Tim Curry). While the gang keeps their visions a secret from one another for some length of time, they realize that they all went through the same thing.
The seven kids eventually enter the sewers to confront – and apparently defeat – Pennywise. However, decades later in 1990, the menace of Pennywise arises again and creates further menace. This brings the adult “Losers Club” members back to Derry to battle evil anew.
The ending of It seems somewhat anticlimactic and disappointing. While Pennywise exudes a fearsome and foreboding visage throughout the show, the source of this evil comes out in the finale – and it seems laughable.
After almost three hours of It, I expected a little more from the ending. Unfortunately, the climax falters and damages what came before it.
While the first half of It focuses on the “Loser’s Club” as children, the second half largely sticks with them as adults. The cast presents a large roster of “B”-level actors such as John Ritter, Harry Anderson, Richard Thomas, Tim Reid and Annette O’Toole.
None of them succeed in their parts. The main actors tend to over-emote and seem… well, like TV actors. The performers fail to contribute convincing turns.
Except for Curry, that it. Pennywise doesn’t appear a whole lot, but when he does, he comes across as creepy and malevolent.
When all is said and done, I’d being lying if I said I didn’t enjoy Stephen King’s It, at least a little bit. However, on the flipside, I can’t imagine myself having the desire to view it again anytime soon.
While the show does have a few creepy moments, it’s can be a dull and lifeless affair. In fact, a majority of the horror comes from fake blood that gets splattered all over the actors every time anyone has a vision. Blood bubbling out of the bathroom sink, blood splashing people when a balloon pops, blood in tea cups, blood oozing out of photo albums – you name it.
Frankly, this gets a little monotonous – and the same goes for much of It. While not devoid of entertainment value, the movie seems too slow and lackluster to become a winner.