A year ago, clowns swept the nation terrifying us all, but now a familiar clown is “floating” his way back to the big screen in the new adaptation of the popular Stephen King novel It.
It, an adaptation of the book and NOT a remake of the 1990 miniseries, follows a group of teens in the small town of Derry, Maine where a creepy clown named Pennywise the Dancing Clown, terrifies them all with their biggest fears, ranging from the fear of germs, to creepy paintings, to even a character’s own father. Played by Bill Skarsgård, Pennywise raises these fears in children, hunting them down through the underground sewage system, to eventually feed off their fears.
It overall did a better job creeping out the audience than the miniseries. The film also brought great, perfectly timed humor throughout, mainly delivered by the character Richie Tozier, played by Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard. Skarsgård, with the help of special effects, costume and makeup, brings a different take to the demonic, child-eating clown compared to Tim Curry’s take in the 1990 adaptation. Pennywise in this movie is more in-your-face when it comes to the creepiness of the character while the miniseries was more subtle. The creepy score, incredible cinematography, and CGI effects also help a lot with making this movie creepier than the one from 27 years ago.
The director, Andrés Muschietti, obviously wanted to take a different approach than Tommy Lee Wallace did back in 1990. This movie did not shy away from the gore and uncomfortable scenes, which with it being rated R, gives it the leeway to do so. In the new movie, Sophia Lillis’ character, Beverly Marsh’s, entire backstory and home life is way more uncomfortable than the original adaptation, with her dad being much creepier and “touchy-touchy” than before. Also in the new movie, the plot was solely focused on the 7 kids of the “Losers’ club” and not cutting back-and-forth between timelines like the book and miniseries does, bringing us closer to the characters thus making them more relatable to the audience.
However, Muschietti does bring back some iconic aspects from the novel and miniseries. The red balloons and the opening scene with the paper boat, yellow jacket, and Pennywise coming out of the drain help keep the nostalgic factor that this movie clearly brings throughout.
As for a horror movie, unless you have a crippling fear of clowns, It wasn’t that scary. It has its fair share of jump scares and a few scenes that make you sit up in your seat, and obviously the creepy children laughing never helps at all, but for me the film was more of a coming of age story about seven misfits coming together to defeat a demonic clown that’s killing their friends and family. As a movie, It was fantastic, but as a horror movie, It didn’t hold up to the level I was expecting walking in. If you’re wanting to see a movie with a solid plotline, great acting, and amazing cinematography, I highly recommend watching, but if you’re wanting to leave the theater unable to sleep at night, It isn’t the movie for you.