“When you’re a kid, you think the universe revolves around you. You think that you’ll always be protected and cared for. Then, one day… you realize that’s not true.”
After 27 years, Stephen King’s child-killing clown has returned to haunt a new generation.
There’s a passage in It that reads, “Being a kid is learning how to live and being an adult is learning how to die.” The reality of that metaphor is what’s most chilling about this movie and the quest for survival.
Based on the 1986 Stephen King novel, It is the first installment of a planned duology and is the perfect example of when a remake is acceptable. Few people have actually seen or remember the 1990 miniseries that starred Tim Curry as the freakishly horrid Pennywise, so this remake was a great opportunity to remind a new generation why clowns will forever live in our nightmares.
Here are five reasons I enjoyed being spooked by Pennywise…
The Plot – A Killer Clown That Feeds Off Fear
In Derry, Maine during the summer of 1989, a group of outcast preteens known as “The Losers Club” fight against an immortal, shape-shifting entity responsible for the disappearance of dozens of children in their town, and are forced to confront their own personal demons in the process. “It” primarily appears in the form of a clown in order to attract its preferred prey of young children feeding off of their deepest fears…this 21st century version of Pennywise doesn’t disappoint.
It (1990) vs. It (2017)
From what I remember, the original It didn’t scare me at all. Because of the lack of technology with special effects, the 1990 television miniseries came off as a little cheesy and campy as opposed to being the genuine horror like the novel.
Fast forward nearly three decades, and this version of It uses technology (to a respectable extent) to give a moodier and darker approach to what lurks in the sewers. While I argue that the 2017 It could have been scarier (a true horror film), I think it succeeded in what it was trying to accomplish…but imagine it in the hands of someone like Guillermo del Toro.
Stephen King Approved
There’s a lot of pressure and anxiety when adapting from the almighty Stephen King. Whether or not your movie succeeds with audiences is one thing, but whether or not King approves is totally another.
King said: “I had hopes, but I was not prepared for how good it really was. It’s something that’s different, and at the same time, it’s something that audiences are gonna relate to. They’re gonna like the characters. To me, it’s all about character. If you like the characters… if you care… the scares generally work.”
The “Stranger Things” Influence
The comparison of The Losers Club teaming up with the crew from Stranger Things to fight monsters from different dimensions is inevitable. The Duffer Brothers only created Stranger Things after their pitch to direct It was turned down by Warner Bros, but it’s clear where It borrowed their nostalgic influence from.
I’ve seen some complaints that audiences are just flocking to movies that give us manufactured nostalgia, but (to me) this attempt was a genuine success.
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise
Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the dancing clown is a revelation from his chilling body jerks to his eerie voice. I think he was the absolute MVP of this movie, and he even admit to having nightmares due to the intensity of the role.
“There may be something of Heath Ledger’s Joker, and a Depression-era New York gangsterism to Skarsgard’s vowels, but his ability to go from quiet, leering menace to nightmarish attack mode in a split second is a big part of the appeal.” via The Guardian
“It” may not be the masterful horror we hoped it would be, and it isn’t without flaws, but it’ll still have you sleeping with the lights on.