It: The New Generation of Horror Scares


by Makalya Scerbo

IT’s not just a remake; it’s an event movie.

IT is the new 2017 adaption of the 1986 novel under the same name by Stephen King. IT was one of the most anticipated movies of 2017. With countless trailers exceeding 40 million views and social media hyping up the release date, the film was always going to have a big audience.  The movie, which was produced by New Line Cinema, KatzSmith Productions, Lin Pictures, and Vertigo Entertainment, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, is intended to be the first installment in a planned duology.

The novel was previously adapted into a 1990 miniseries on TMC network. The original film had a brilliant cast which the new movie may or may not have lived up to. Tim Curry originally played the infamous clown Pennywise in the miniseries and has been awarded with praise for his interpretation of the role. The new Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgård, always had a lot to live up to. Producers probably knew the new version would also be judged upon the realness of its graphics and effects, which is a big complaint for the original IT. The original’s graphics weren’t very good, which is understandable because of 90’s technology and TV budget. Thus, the new IT was expected to fulfill a higher standard.

The film tells the story of seven children in Derry, Maine, who are terrorized by the eponymous IT, only to face their own personal troubles in the process. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga, and Gary Dauberman. Jaeden Lieberher and Bill Skarsgård star as Bill Denbrough and Pennywise the Dancing Clown, respectively, with Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott in supporting roles.

This supernatural being “Pennywise” resembles a clown in form but is far from the regular happy, cheerful clowns that bring joy to children. IT is not a happy, cheerful character; he is dark and twisted. The movie stays true to tone and themes of the book. Since the movie was rated R it could include more adult themes from the novel.

The movie methodically introduces the audience to each character: first Bill and his three best friends, Richie, Eddie, and Stanley. Right off the bat, the audience is shown that Richie and Eddie are relatable characters with gritty comebacks and a great sense of humor. The movie shows Bill as a more timorous character with a lisp that makes him seem timid. Stanley is the “plain” character at the beginning of the film; other than his Jewish heritage, not much background is given. The characters are collectively referred to by all as “the Losers Club.”

Three other characters, members of Bill’s “Losers” Club, are soon introduced: Beverly, the only girl in the group, Ben who is the new kid, and Mike who is the only kid who lives outside of town. In addition to Pennywise, another group of kids serve as antagonists: a group of four teenage boys led by the main culprit, Henry, who like to bully and beat up members of the Losers Club.

After all the characters are introduced, the real terror begins. Bill is obsessed with trying to find his brother in the Barons and sewers. The group tries to help Bill find Georgie but IT starts to play tricks on them. Ben does more research and finds out why IT lives; the group doesn’t like the answer because it puts all their lives in danger.

The opening scene to this movie is absolutely genius. The director kept the opening scene thrilling and detailed about what happens to Georgie, but after Georgie is gone, the movie doesn’t show a sappy scene of a funeral or broken down mother. That’s what makes it genius. The movie didn’t need a sorrow shot of Georgie’s family because the audience could already feel the pain from seeing the shock of an innocent kid just vanish.

The movie does a fantastic job at building up psychological terror. First, there is the relatable antagonism of the bullies. Then, the kids are the only ones that can see “It” and his ruses. The adults in the movie can’t see what IT does to the children. This plot device builds tension between the adults and the kids from the “Loser Club.” IT starts to disrupt the kid’s everyday life and makes them question what’s real and what is not. “It” seems to disappear whenever an adult comes around. so the kids sound crazy when they start to tell about Pennywise’s terrifying antics.

The new adaption of It overall has a more sinister vibe than its previous 1980s film the new version gives Pennywise a new look that’s more terrifying than before. It also has some brilliant shock horror moments that leave the audience terrified, mainly because of Pennywise’s shapeshifting abilities. Pennywise can morph into anything that someone fears. For example, Ben fears mummies so Pennywise changes into a decaying one.

Despite the changes to Pennywise, the film stays true to the book in other ways. Since the movie was rated R, it could include more adult themes from the novel; the new film uses the more macabre ideas that the original book had, such as the way Pennywise lures kids in and then kills them. As a rated R film, it includes key “mature” characteristics of the book, like Richie’s constant nag for cursing and how Beverly is sexually abused by her father.

The new 2017 adaption of Stephen Kings It is a terrifying but terrific movie. This movie not only has you on the edge of your seat; it resonates and stays with you. The film has proved to be a commercial and critical hit right of the gate for good reason. Whether you like the horror genre or not, you must see this modern masterpiece of a film.



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