By Ford Sicore
“It” is the 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King’s book of the same name, as well as a remake of the 1990 miniseries. The film is directed by Andrés Muschietti, and was released on Sept. 8. “It” is a wonderful breath of fresh air in the horror genre.
The film stars Bill Skarsgård, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis, Jaeden Lieberher, Jack Dylan Grazer and Wyatt Olef. “It” is about seven children who make up the “Loser’s Club” who encounter a shape-shifting entity that manifests commonly as their worst fears, but who primarily appears as a clown named Pennywise.
The kids are forced to overcome their worst fears, and eventually have to overcome the fear of the creature itself, as it emerges from the sewers every 27 years to prey on the residents of the town.
The hype surrounding the film had been built up through multiple trailers showing off the character design of the clown, and it quickly established the atmosphere of the setting and story.
One thing the film does very well is distinct character design. Each character has special traits that contribute to their fears, such as Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff), who is afraid of a painting on the wall of the office in his church, which he constantly tries to avoid seeing.
Bill Skarsgård does an excellent job as Pennywise. His character design is balanced between being equally scary, interesting and comedic at times. Skarsgård uses multiple facial manipulation tricks to create a creature that gives a heavy uncanny valley vibe, almost suggesting Pennywise’s face is just a mask. Pennywise’s behavior is portrayed as extremely unpredictable and erratic, constantly using unorthodox body language which will truly make the viewer feel uneasy.
“It” is very lengthy, stretching over two hours long, but doesn’t have much empty runtime with the story progressing steadily throughout. Most introduced story elements, such as the origins of Mike Hanlon’s fears, are touched upon throughout the film and its characters all have a good amount of screentime. However, some of the main characters do not get as much of the spotlight as others.
The backstory of some of the main characters is quickly glossed over and barely elaborated upon, which makes it difficult to relate to them. It introduces a character’s traumatic pasts but abandons them halfway through and it can be hard to absorb the full story because of this.
Aside from this, “It” is very scary, this movie never lets’s lets down with its scares. It quickly establishes in the beginning of the movie that it is not afraid to show the viewers that it is an R rated horror. Pennywise the clown presents a legitimate threat to the kid’s kids’ lives and isn’t afraid to actually try and kill them, and the movie isn’t afraid to show it either. There is barely room to breath here with scary scenes popping up one after another.
“It” is truly a breath of fresh air for audiences who are disappointed with current day horror films, providing a unique and gripping story and world, with an actually terrifying antagonist who will be stuck in your mind after you see the film.
Pennywise’s appearance may not be enough to scare most, but rather the fear lies in its personality and actions.
However, this can cause a problem for audiences who are uncomfortable with blood and violence. This movie has a lot of both and it makes matters worse when children are involved. But in terms of the overall experience, the gore contributes to the atmosphere and isn’t just added in for shock value. It is a relevant story element.
This movie performs very well in almost every aspect, and it is definitely worth a watch if you enjoy horror and want a break from the mainstream.