By Seán McGlone and Pavel Zlatin – Editor-in-Chief and 1851 Staff
In the remake of the 1990 horror movie, based off of Stephen King’s novel of the same name, Bill Skarsgård plays the demonic clown, Pennywise, who terrorizes the fictional town of Derry in the summer of 1989 in “It.”
In the film, during the last year, Derry citizens have been disappearing without a trace. The vanishing townspeople include Georgie, the younger brother of one of the main characters, Billy. While out sailing a paper boat Billy had made him on a rainy day, Georgie loses the boat in the sewer, and meets Pennywise while trying to rescue his toy. After talking for a few moments, Pennywise offers Georgie his boat back, and upon Georgie’s acceptance, the clown bites off Georgie’s arm, and drags him into the sewer, never to be seen again.
The following summer, Billy is still shaken up by the loss of his brother, and has trouble accepting that his brother may actually be dead. Along with his buddies Richie, Eddie, and Stan, Billy starts to search for clues regarding what actually happened to Georgie.
The boys are helped along by new friends Beverly, Mike, and Ben. Because Ben is new in town, he has been spending a lot of time in the library doing research on the town of Derry. Ben finds out that Derry has an incredibly high missing person’s rate and it seems that every 27 years a string of accidents and disappearances within in the town.
As the boys continue on, they start to see Pennywise themselves, who feeds on their fear by exposing them to their worst nightmares. For Eddie, it is seeing a leper, for Mike, it is reliving the scene in a burning building where he saw his parents die, and for Billy it’s seeing Georgie. Soon the group realizes that if they want to stop all the disappearances, they have to defeat Pennywise.
As far as horror movies go, this particular remake is pretty tame. While there are several scenes that may make you jump in your seat, there are also a number funny moments, many of them appear in the form of one-liners from Richie.
The movie seems as if it’s just trying to play on people’s fear of clowns, especially after the string of clown sightings around the country last year, which many attribute to the news that the remake of “It” was coming out. Overall, the movie falls flat in terms of actual horror, especially considering all of the buildup in the trailers, and scenes from the movie released beforehand.
However, in terms of style and casting “IT” is almost perfect. Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise is mysterious and creepy, yet charming and somehow adorable. The child actors are great too. Especially Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, the only girl in her group, and Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) as Richard Tozier a.k.a “Trashmouth Tozier”, who added the perfect amount of wit and irony to the movie.
Surprisingly enough, Stephen King actually approved of the movie before it came out. In an Instagram post on March 2nd, movie producer Seth Grahame-Smith said that King had asked him to “let everyone know that they should stop worrying about “IT”, as the producers have done a wonderful job with the production.” According to slashfilm.com. In a tweet on March 7th, King confirmed this by saying “Andy Muschietti’s remake of IT (actually it’s Part 1–The Losers’ Club) succeeds beyond my expectations. Relax. Wait. And enjoy.” This may come as a surprise to some fans, as King is notorious for not liking the movie adaptations of his books.
The movie’s fate is darker than the picture itself. Not only did it suffer from a comparison to the book, but also people haven’t forgotten about the “IT” mini-series(1990) and the iconic image of Pennywise the Dancing Clown brought by Tim Curry. The comparison to both works was the recipe for disaster.
For Stephen King fans, and those who liked the 1990 adaptation of the book, it’s probably worth seeing this movie for the novelty of saying that you did. As for your average horror movie fan looking to see what all of the buzz is about, you may be better off skipping this one.