Horror

The Open House

Director/s
Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote

Stars
Dylan Minnette, Piercey Dalton

One thing is certain after watching The Open House; Netflix still has a way to go if it’s to become the behemoth it seems destined to be in terms of film production.

This recent Netflix original offering had all the potential to be something great; an up and coming star, a great story idea and a picturesque setting, but boy did it fail to deliver.

The story revolves around Naomi (Piercey Dalton) and Logan (Dylan Minnette; 13 Reasons Why, Goosebumps), as a mother and her teenage son who, through tragic family circumstance, are forced to move into Naomi’s sisters secluded mountain holiday house. This premise alone creates more questions than answers about the motivations of our lead characters. It’s never fully explained why said tragedy means that Naomi and Logan cannot stay in their home, or why they couldn’t stay with other friends or family closer to home so Logan could finish high school. Instead we’re meant to believe that the best option is to move to the middle of nowhere, into a house that also happens to be on the market.

Anyway, let’s assume for a minute that this decision makes sense; we’re now thrust into the mountains, complete with creepy neighbours that appear from nowhere, and into a house that neither of the characters have ever been to, despite being owned by Naomi’s sister. Nothing weird about that. As mentioned, this house is also on the market and apparently has a recurring ‘open house’ every Sunday that requires Naomi and Logan to vacate the premises for about 8 hours. Seems plausible. Now this is where things should be getting interesting, however the Writer/Directors (relative newcomers Matt Angel and Suzanne Coote) start to play on all the familiar archetypes of this genre of film, but without doing any of it particularly well. Things are being moved around the house by some strange presence, the water heater is always turning off with Naomi in the shower (which apparently renders all of the water in the house immediately freezing), and creepy neighbours are doing their creeping…you get the gist. What starts to become clear is that this film is wasting the time of its actors. Dylan Minnette in particular, is solid throughout, but neither actor has the script to make their performance really meaningful.

There’s laziness to this film which really disappoints. It almost feels like two friends got together over a bottle or 6 of wine, had what they thought was a brilliant idea for a movie, got half way through and realized that no good decisions are made under the influence. The last 20 minutes of the film should have been what redeemed it, but instead it became the final nail in its cheap, pine casket. The ending felt rushed, like when you’re writing an essay in an exam and realize you’ve got 5 minutes left to try and make your point, and only after you’ve left the exam do you remember that you forgot to add the most important part.

The Open House “coulda been a contender”, but instead will be forgotten as an absolute pretender.

1 ½ stars

TRAILER

Advertisements

BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2017 including the highlights and some low-lights

Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had a very productive year of film watching and reviewing!

In total, I got to see and review 141 films officially released in 2017 alone, which is 15 more than I was able to see at this same time in 2016! Of these, more than 25 movies received a 4 star rating from me, so I have compiled a ‘Best 25’ list this year as well as a ‘Worst 5’.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this post. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies.

I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2018, where I hope to review a monthly classic and bring a review or two fresh from my attendance at film festivals!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Best 25 Movies of 2017

25
WONDER
4 stars

A beautiful and meaningful story featuring a great cast that will make you cry a little but feel plenty of joy

24
PADDINGTON 2
4 stars

As sweet as marmalade itself and a sequel that’s every bit as good, if not better, than the first film. Paddington is no one-trick teddy bear!

23
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
4 stars

Arguably and in my opinion, this is the best rendition of Batman, ever! Utterly hilarious at times and scores Moviedoc’s #1 spot (just!) for best family film of 2017!

22
INGRID GOES WEST 
4 stars

All at once, this is an uncomfortably funny, dreadfully saddening and downright frightening exposé of just how far a social media addiction and obsession can take a person. Highly recommended!

21
GIFTED
4 stars

A splendid drama! One of the most underrated films of 2017! If you haven’t already, it is time to unwrap this true gift of a film.

20
THE BIG SICK
4 stars

A broadly appealing and wholly accessible romantic comedy-drama that’s not only based on a true story but even stars one of the real-life subjects; stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Kumail Nanjiani

19
BABY DRIVER
4 stars

It’s been a solid year for heist movies and this is the best of them. Flawless car chase sequences and an outstanding music score drive this slick and unique heist film. Hopefully BABY DRIVER won’t lose popularity due to co-starring Kevin Spacey, for it absolutely deserves to be seen.

18
MISS SLOANE
4 stars

Enthralling! I’ve been told those who are into TV Series “House of Cards” will want to see this. Sorry for making another connection to Kevin Spacey!

17
FENCES

4 stars

Can be a challenge to watch, especially during the first half. However, Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance playing a character he’s portrayed on Broadway 114 times before and Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning acting are so stellar in a movie that becomes absolutely riveting

16
THE BEGUILED
4 stars

Beautifully filmed and impeccably acted by one of the stand-out ensemble casts of the year. An excellent film from director Sofia Coppola.

15
MOONLIGHT
4 stars

You haven’t seen a story quite like the one told in MOONLIGHT before. This is the Best Picture Winner at the 2017 Academy Awards earlier this year. Brave and heartfelt storytelling.

14
MOUNTAIN
4 stars

A majestic and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Australian-made MOUNTAIN is 2017’s best documentary feature.

13
THE SALESMAN
4 stars

This is acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE PAST, A SEPARATION) latest feature film. An immaculately devised and strongly executed domestic drama with a gripping finale.

12
DUNKIRK
4 stars

A minimalist war film that draws maximum anxiety and exacts a claustrophobic stranglehold over its viewers from start to end thanks largely to the ever-present score by Oscar-winning film composer, Hans Zimmer

11
HOUNDS OF LOVE
4 stars

A similar breed of film to 2011’s SNOWTOWN, HOUNDS OF LOVE is an unnerving and tense dramatic thriller that showcases an outstanding music score, cinematography and acting. The best Australian film of 2017.

10
LAND OF MINE
4 stars

An Oscar-nominated foreign film taking place after WWII, which depicts a group of very young German POWs sent to Denmark to clear thousands of hidden land mines. Stomach-turning tension is guaranteed.

9
LOVING VINCENT
4½ stars

The first-ever oil painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh is never solely limited to its visual capabilities. A sublime film.

8
SILENCE
4½ stars

Martin Scorsese’s passion project and three-hour epic is a bravely written piece that is expertly penned toward the most religiously devout. A near-masterpiece.

7
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
4½ stars

The PLANET OF THE APES film series is now officially one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite film franchise. Combines mesmerising CGI and cinematography with a powerful and relevant story that has a strong message for humankind. I just love it!

6
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
4½ stars

The storytelling structure, its well-studied account of key themes and the honesty of its writing and character depiction achieves MANCHESTER BY THE SEA A-grade status.

5
PERFECT STRANGERS
4½ stars

What happens when a close-knit group of friends meet for dinner and share every text message, email and phone call received with one another? You will want to find out! Italian comedy PERFECT STRANGERS features one of the most cleverly conceived and carefully-considered screenplay’s of the year.

4
GET OUT
4½ stars

Movies as genius as this are few and far between. Masterfully and studiously crafted, intelligently written and flawlessly executed, GET OUT is a broadly appealing and accessible horror film at heart that functions as a menacing mystery invite to all. If you haven’t already, please accept your invitation, pronto! You will not regret it.

3
LADY MACBETH
4½ stars

Witness one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting character transitions seen in recent years. This fierce, fearless and electrifying film turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion and is the breakout film for its star, Florence Pugh, who is scintillating. Unmissable!

2
DOWNSIZING
5 stars

The last film to receive 5 stars from me was THE HUNT in 2013! Well, it had to take something very special to break that lengthy drought. Simply put, you have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. It is extraordinary. I admired its continual refusal to yield to any form of mainstream cinema convention, despite being a mainstream-friendly release. It also unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters I’ve seen in any film. Hong Chau (from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) is just superb as Ngoc Lan Tran, in what is one of this year’s acting highlights. Absolutely amazing in every way imaginable.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 
5 Stars

It took me until February, 2018 to see this sensual and picturesque masterpiece. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME not only met my high expectations, it by far exceeded them. This slow-building drama set in northern Italy during a hot summer in 1983 is so precise and honest yet powerfully subtle in its articulation of the complex emotions and sensitive scenarios involving its characters. It takes some time for the forthcoming relationship to develop, yet does so organically and in complete avoidance of all stereotypes. By the time its extraordinarily moving and meaningful finale arrives, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME simply overwhelms. The ultimate meaning and key themes of this beautifully produced film earn an equal amount of appreciation as the stunning production, stand-out score and immaculate performances achieve.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Moviedoc’s Worst 5 Movies of 2017

5
BAYWATCH
1 ½ stars

Not even the charismatic Dwayne Johnson can save BAYWATCH from drowning in its own dump.


4
CHIPS
1 ½ stars

Unfunny. Sexist. Nasty. Avoid!


3
JIGSAW
1 star

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot. Now, please stay dead.

2
SNATCHED
1 star

Goldie Hawn should have remained in her fifteen-year movie hibernation. Terrible movie.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2017

T H E  M U M M Y
1 star

An unacceptable first instalment in Universal’s rather forced Dark Universe film series that seemingly exists purely to rival Marvel and the like. Yet sadly, THE MUMMY still grossed $409.1 million worldwide, which means there’ll probably be more to come. A score of just 5.5 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes more than justifies why this utterly dreadful reboot is the worst of the 141 movies released this year I have seen.

Still with me? Good! Now we go to some highlights and low-lights of 2017

The acting stand-outs of 2017

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Hong Chau – DOWNSIZING
Florence Pugh – LADY MACBETH
Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – HOUNDS OF LOVE
Naomie Harris – MOONLIGHT
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – FENCES
Aubrey Plaza – INGRID GOES WEST
Teresa Palmer – BERLIN SYNDROME
Barry Keoghan – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Sonia Braga – AQUARIUS
Oscar Isaac – SUBURBICON
Hugh Grant – PADDINGTON 2
John Lithgow and Salma Hayek – BEATRIZ AT DINNER
Nicole Kidman – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER & THE BEGUILED
Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar – LION
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer – FRANTZ
Brian Cox – CHURCHILL
Jessica Rothe – HAPPY DEATH DAY
Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Sally Hawkins – MAUDIE
Hugo Weaving – JASPER JONES

Films to add to your watch list not in my Best 25 from 2017

PATRIOT’S DAY
LIFE
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THEIR FINEST
A MONSTER CALLS
COLOSSAL
LION
COLLATERAL BEAUTY
SUBURBICON
THE BOSS BABY
BERLIN SYNDROME
LOGAN

Most over-rated and/or most disappointing films from 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
JACKIE
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
VICTORIA & ABDUL
THINGS TO COME
THE SNOWMAN
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
LOVING
A SILENT VOICE
ALONE IN BERLIN
TRESPASS AGAINST US
GOLD

The highlights in films from 2017

Hong Chau’s character in DOWNSIZING
The uniquely hand-painted visual experience in LOVING VINCENT
The extreme slo-mo’s in HOUNDS OF LOVE
The development of the relationship and the first intimate scene between Elio and Oliver in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
The atmosphere and the battle sequences staged in DUNKIRK
The real footage of a tightrope walk between two mountain peaks in MOUNTAIN
The final dinner table scene in THE BEGUILED
The car chase sequences and the music score in BABY DRIVER
A reaction from a particular water monster in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
The birthday party sequence & guest arrivals in TONI ERDMANN
The visual and aural experience in GHOST IN THE SHELL
The dialogue and its delivery from Tiffany Haddish in GIRLS TRIP
The final action sequence on the ice in Iceland in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Best horror film

GET OUT
(A clear stand-out, however if that’s not scary enough for you, then try out IT COMES AT NIGHT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and IT. None of these films managed to scare me though!)

Best crying film
A MONSTER CALLS
(Even though its title suggests this belongs in the above category! Not the first time director J.A. Bayona has claimed this spot at the end of the year. THE IMPOSSIBLE was his previous movie)

Best lol film

PERFECT STRANGERS
(However, if you want something more mainstream, then try GIRLS TRIP)

Best love story or romantic film

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Most unique/strange films

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
MOTHER!

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
($1.26 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
($36.3 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
“LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©

BETTER WATCH OUT

Director
Chris Peckover 
(Undocumented)

Stars
Levi Miller, Olivia DeJonge, Ed Oxenbould, Virginia Madsen and Patrick Warburton

This Australian-American co-production, shot in Sydney, has been described as HOME ALONE meets THE STRANGERS. A psycho-thriller starring three internationally known young Australian stars – Levi Miller (PAN, RED DOG: TRUE BLUE), Olivia DeJonge and Ed Oxenbould (lead actors from M. Night Shyamalan’s THE VISIT), BETTER WATCH OUT won’t be forgotten in a hurry for those who are brave enough to persevere with it!

In the lead up to Christmas, Robert and Deandra Lerner (Patrick Warburton and Virginia Madsen) arrange for their regular babysitter, Ashley (DeJonge) to mind their son, Luke (Miller) while they attend an evening function. Despite being a number of years older than him and aged at just twelve himself, Luke possesses a sizable crush on Ashley and his plans to reveal that tonight, but has his intentions thwarted when an intruder breaks into his home. As Ashley protects herself and Luke during a snowy night in this quiet American suburb, it is soon discovered that this is no normal home invasion.


Before even considering adding BETTER WATCH OUT to your watch list, you ought to know that the faux plot synopsis as mentioned above only temporarily resides for the sole intention of leading us closer to its real premise, which is much more dark, daunting and disturbing. To tell you the truth, once it becomes clear what’s really going on, and just how far the script is prepared to go with this, that ultimate premise is a mightily tough sell. At times throughout, it can be difficult to discern what exact reaction BETTER WATCH OUT is aiming to provoke and what feelings it intends for its viewers to have. Especially if you enter the cinema with the incorrect impression that this film is categorised as a comedy/horror. This uncomfortable psycho-thriller is in dire need of either a sub-plot to offer the occasional distraction from its disconcerting trajectory and/or more pronounced psychological depth attributed to its antagonists in order for it to not be as tough a pill to swallow as it is.

In any case, the story written by Zack Kahn (TV series Mad) must be commended for venturing into territory that many others rarely dare to go. Special mention must also be made to the undoubtedly challenging acting roles filled by Olivia DeJonge and Levi Miller. Their strong and committed performances help to keep viewers glued to the screen, regardless of whether BETTER WATCH OUT is reprehensible or rewarding for you to watch.

2 ½ stars


Viewer Discretion

MA15+ (Strong themes, violence and coarse language, some disturbing scenes)

Trailer
BETTER WATCH OUT

Moviedoc thanks Rialto Distribution and Ned & Co for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc
“LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©

 

JIGSAW

Directors
Michael Spierig, Peter Spierig
(PREDESTINATION, DAYBREAKERS)

Stars
Matt Passmore, Hannah Emily Anderson, Brittany Allen, Mandela Van Peebles, Paul Braunstein, Laura Vandervoort, Callum Keith Rennie and Tobin Bell

Like puzzles? Then have a crack at making these mismatched pieces fit together.

This is the first internationally produced feature film to be directed by two rising stars in the movie making business – German-born Australians and identical twin brothers, Michael and Peter Spierig. This film by the Spierig Brothers is an attempt to reboot the dead and buried SAW movie franchise. Speaking of dead and buried, the titular villain of this film did indeed die in SAW III, ten years ago.

In what is very much a new puzzle with the same old pieces applied, JIGSAW begins by connecting its opening police chase sequence to a group of five strangers who awake to discover they are being held captive in horrifying conditions. The quintet soon learn that their mysterious kidnapper wants to play sadistic games of torture and isn’t willing to yield unless they begin spilling the beans behind their secret that has upset the moral compass of their captor and landed them in this helpless position. As the game gruesomely unfolds, a working group of police, detectives and medical experts analyse clues and evidence found that leads them to one key suspect – the deceased killer known as Jigsaw.

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot.

Scary, but not in any manner that horror-enthusiasts seek, JIGSAW‘s scriptwriters have made the alarming mistake of believing that their unoriginal, unintelligent and assumptive screenplay has the ability to surprise, and then some. With the exception of one particular twist that you may not see coming, purely due to blinding you with its stupidity, every single character and plot development is extremely predictable and often equally lame. The once creatively and disturbingly conceived games being played on the victims, then played on the mind of us as its viewers as per the original SAW movie, remains a win of the past. Whether intentional to conceal explanations that the writers know don’t make much sense or whether just due to poor sound mixing, the music and sound effects regularly overpower the films dialogue. All of those desirable features that draw horror fans to a movie such as this are rarely sighted. Furthermore, there are no genuine scares or seat-adjusting jumps, no thrills or chills and very little fun, if any at all. Had some thought and care been attributed to just some of the irksome characters that reside in JIGSAW, then you might be reading a slightly less negative review. Nevertheless, woeful characters and performances from an ensemble cast that mostly appear to have been randomly assembled from several seasons of America’s Next Top Model display a grade of acting that’s as bad as you’ll see on the big screen this year.

Well, hopefully not see. Avoid.

1 star

Viewer Discretion 
MA15+ (Strong themes and strong horror violence)

Trailer
JIGSAW

Moviedoc thanks Studiocanal and Asha Holmes Publicity for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Moviedoc
“LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©

HAPPY DEATH DAY

Director / Christopher Landon (SCOUTS GUIDE TO THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES)
Stars/ Jessica Rothe, Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Rachel Matthews and Charles Aitken

The new horror flick HAPPY DEATH DAY marked its birth on the big screen just in the nick of time for Friday the 13th and will be hanging around over Halloween too. In what can be described as the slasher cousin movie of earlier dramatic release BEFORE I FALL, HAPPY DEATH DAY unwraps a few neat twists to its rewinding premise.

Every morning, college student Tree (played by unknown actress Jessica Rothe who appeared in LA LA LAND) wakes up and relives the same day. That fateful day always ends the same way – with her death at the hands of a mask-wearing, knife-wielding antagonist. Tree soon learns that the only way she will ever discover the hidden identity of her murderer is to change the course of her actions leading to her final moments.


Poor young Tree, not only is she being terrorised over and over again, but it ironically all happens to be occurring on her birthday too. The often unexpected actions of this exceptional lead character as the final day in her life is replayed detours the film from being as repetitive as its destined structure suggests. As such, the ability for viewers to predict the exact timing of forthcoming thrills is teasingly hindered. There are noticeable flaws sighted in its screenplay all throughout, yet they rarely matter or interfere with the very intentional fun to be had from watching HAPPY DEATH DAY. This is a bloody (figuratively, more so than literally) entertaining movie to watch! Strong contributors to this output also includes the score, which playfully taunts its audience to the same degree as the script. Directing from Christopher Landon is sharp, who has extracted strong performances from his largely unknown cast. Each of these young actors’ timing and varying tone is right on song just as needed. But none more so than a stand-out solo performance from lead actress Jessica Rothe. She plays it bitchy, she plays it kind, she plays it feisty and she plays it frightened, all with a fierce confidence that is utterly contagious.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ M (Horror themes, violence, sexual references and coarse language)

Trailer / HAPPY DEATH DAY

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©

 

THE BELKO EXPERIMENT

Director / Greg McLean (WOLF CREEK, ROGUE)
Stars/ John Gallagher Jr., Tony Goldwyn, Adria Arjona and Melonie Diaz

In the year 2000, a dystopian Japanese action film was a box office hit in its home country and received audience and critical acclaim across the globe. That film, BATTLE ROYALE (BATORU ROWAIARU), was also slapped with the rare Japanese film classification of R-15 and caused its fair share of controversy, resulting in a ban to show in several other countries.

A plot that draws heavily from that film, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT pitches a premise that involves 80 employees who are working at not-for-profit organisation Belko, located (and shot on location) in the outskirts of Bogota, Colombia. Shortly after each employee has arrived at work one morning, an unknown voice over the intercom sternly advises that they are to kill three of their co-workers, or six others will instead be killed.


Sure enough, this premise does have the propensity to intrigue. However, as the twisted idea unfolds, it soon becomes evident that this experiment is left begging for a dose of originality and bright ideas it is bereft of.

As the initial reactions to the disconcerting announcement are seen, THE BELKO EXPERIMENT does immediately summon an undeniably ominous curiosity. Even though zero effort has been put into the characterisation department, the deadly scenario does demand the full attention of its viewers. Any stranglehold that THE BELKO EXPERIMENT may have cast to this point gradually erodes once the actions of its mostly annoying and unlikeable characters and its plot trajectory become far too foreseeable. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY writer and director James Gunn, who writes this screenplay, was also set to direct this film until a last minute change of heart due to personal reasons. Unfortunately for Gunn, Australian filmmaker Greg McLean’s direction is just as uneven as the script itself is. It unsuccessfully attempts to combine a Tarantino-like concoction of excessive and bloody violence with macabre humour, yet doesn’t want to be taken lightly as a work of horror-like thriller either. Adding to the unevenness of this picture are a handful of music-driven, slow-mo’d slaying scenes that never quite fit. Had the finale unveiled a badly needed unforeseen twist, then there may have been warrant to recommend THE BELKO EXPERIMENT. Rather, another obvious development will leave you feeling as though this is something you could have scripted yourself!

Instead, get onto Netflix and watch an episode of the similar yet superior series, Black Mirror. 

2 stars

Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ (Strong themes and bloody violence)

Trailer / THE BELKO EXPERIMENT

Moviedoc thanks Rialto Distribution for the screening invite to this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©

 

IT

Director / Andy Muschietti (MAMA)
Stars/ Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Bill Skarsgård, Sophia Lillis, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Wyatt Oleff, Nicholas Hamilton, Jack Dylan Grazer and Chosen Jacobs

Even Stephen King himself has endorsed this first chapter of a planned two-part feature film retelling of IT, stating that a “wonderful job” has been done. The fact that this cinematic adaptation is much closer to King’s 1986 novel than what the mini-series produced four years later was, will no doubt be a significant contributor towards his positive feelings.

It is late 1980’s in the town of Derry, Maine. A number of individual kids – the stuttering student Bill (Lieberher), the granny-glasses wearing Richie (Wolfhard), Beverly (Lillis), who lives with an oppressive family member, the overweight library visitor Ben (Taylor), as well as Stanley (Oleff), Mike (Jacobs) and Eddie (Grazer) – are experiencing some form of bullying. United by their bullying encounters, as well as separate horrifying confrontations with beings that represent their worst fears, the newly formed group search for a frightening, shape-shifting entity who adopts the appearance of a clown, named Pennywise (Skarsgård).

An alluring visual design, innovative horror sequences and a largely unknown, yet talented ensemble cast do indeed ensure that IT consistently floats its viewer’s boat.

For starters, the tone is darker. Much darker, which is made clear by a menacing and superior opening sequence partially seen in the record-breaking film trailer. Heed that as both a warning and a recommendation! It’s a tone that easily settles itself into and all throughout this horror film. Even so, IT is quite a thrill to watch as it teases and taunts viewers in equal measure. A frequent supply of creatively conceived and ominously designed visual scenarios together with the camaraderie of its characters and its production give this film both a freshness and taste of nostalgia that is easy to embrace. These slickly executed scenes and the amalgamation of its narrative display the real skill and vision that director Andy Muschietti possesses. IT also impresses by way of a strongly written script that truly seizes upon its full potential and is more than capable of engaging its audience. A sub-plot revolving around the history of the kids’ hometown and the film’s themes (some of which are very heavy), are genuinely compelling. On a lighter note, the jocular banter that is exchanged among the younger cast members is highly amusing and even breaks a cinema convention or two along the way. The support and the strength that they lend one another has real substance too.

This old clown is up to new tricks that are guaranteed to feed you a fright or five.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ MA15+ (Strong horror themes and violence)

Trailer / IT

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the screening invite to this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

©