Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Living - - CINEMA - AINE O’CON­NOR

Cert: 16; Now show­ing

Some peo­ple will be most hor­ri­fied to know that it has been 27 years since the first film ver­sion of Stephen King’s novel. That fact is ac­tu­ally scarier than this new ver­sion which, while short on hor­ror per se def­i­nitely has one creepy clown and al­though way too long at two hours 15 min­utes, is re­ally en­joy­able.

This is part one of an IT duol­ogy and it takes its time cre­at­ing characters and set­ting the scene. It’s Derry, Maine in 1988 and a boy called Bill (Jae­den Lieber­her) makes a pa­per boat for his lit­tle brother Ge­orgie (Jack­son Robert Scott). Ge­orgie goes miss­ing, we know what hap­pened to him but in the town he sim­ply joins the ranks of miss­ing chil­dren that no-one re­ally wants to talk about.

The fol­low­ing year the lo­cal high school breaks up for sum­mer, but not be­fore we’ve met lost new boy Ben (Jer- emy Ray Tay­lor) and fe­male out­sider Bev­erly (Sophia Lil­lis). And lo­cal bully, mul­let-sport­ing, white su­prem­a­cist Henry (Nicholas Hamilton). Bill is still on a mis­sion to find his lit­tle brother and his friends, in­clud­ing show-steal­ing Richie (Finn Wolfhard), are kind of will­ing to help him.

The self-dubbed Losers’ Club join up with Ben and Bev­erly and home-schooled Mike (Cho­sen Jacobs) and it emerges they have all seen the same creepy clown, as well as fig­ures con­jured from their own per­sonal ter­ror. They in­ves­ti­gate. In many re­spects the film, which has a great sense of the time, feels like Seven Go Ghost­bust­ing, but the clown (an un­recog­nis­able but tremen­dously creepy Bill Skars­gard) and the idea of miss­ing, scared chil­dren is in­trin­si­cally hideous. Too long, but very good, di­rec­tor An­dres Muschi­etti has done a re­ally nice job and the kids are great.

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