Right. This is ‘Stranger Things: The Fucking Nightmare’.
Which means it’s; ‘ET, The Goonies, Stand by Me: The Fucking Nightmare.’
Not least because it stars Finn Wolfhard.
And, if nothing else it has unearthed the preternaturally beautiful Sophia Lillis, as Beverley, who, like Wolfhard, surely has a massive career ahead of her.
It is proper scary.
Kids fight monsters. What’s not to like?
Nothing beats proper scary in my book and few writers create scariness better than Stephen King. The Shining and Carrie are two of the best horror films ever made and this is his hat-trick.
We open in year 27 (1989 with lots of neat historical references) of a 27 year cycle in which mayhem descends on the small town of Derry (in Maine?) and follows a group of Losers; geeks, fatties, stutterers, black kids, scaredycats and a tomboy with attitude (Beverley) who also provides the love interest.
The movie starts with stutterer Bill (beautifully played by Jaeden Leiberher) losing his beloved younger brother, Georgie, to a demonic clown who lives in the town’s sewers. It’s the start of a series of disappearances amongst children in the town. And the clown, played superbly by Bill Skarskgard, called Pennywise is out to wreak havoc having been let loose in year 27.
The movie has plenty of jumps. And some of the appearances of Pennywise are frankly terrifying.
Despite its length, over two hours, it maintains interest throughout and the story develops brilliantly. Top marks to director Andy Muschietti who is adept at creating mood, atmosphere and moments of humour.
“Who invited Molly Ringwold” asks Wolfhard in reference to the short red haired Beverley. It’s a laugh out loud moment (and Wolfhard has them all).
There’s a neat subplot about school bullying (that begins a little cliched but develops nicely) with a good performance from Nicholas Hamilton as a proper bully, Henry Bowers.
But the heart of the movie is dedicated to scaring the fucking shite out of you.
And it succeeds triumphantly.
It’s a great horror movie. It really is.