Film Review: Andrés Muschietti’s “It” Lives Up to the Hype

“It” (2017). [Youtube]

The “clown craze” of 2016 is back and better than ever this year with the revival of the original adaption of Stephen King’s novel, “It.”

The made-for-tv 1990 adaption is beloved by Stephen King fans and horror movie fans alike, so the reboot definitely had a lot to live up to, especially when concerning Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Director Andy Muschietti takes on this adaption, while Bill Skarsgard portrays the not-so-whimsical titular character.

With an 86 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, it would be an understatement to say that “It” (2017) has been more than substantial.  Muschietti does an excellent job at remaining true to the novel, while somehow making it ironically light-hearted. Following the plight of a misfit group of kids in Derry, Maine, each character has their own inner demons that they encounter throughout the film.

It is clear that King intended for these inner demons to be the true shadows terrorizing our protagonists. Nonetheless, Pennywise is ultimately the most terrifying part of the story. While most evil entities in horror films only wreak havoc when disturbed, and in designated areas, Pennywise appears anywhere and everywhere without provocation.  He appears in the sewers, bedrooms, and even in public libraries. He feeds off fear and shapeshifts into his victim’s biggest fears. This is what keeps you on the edge of your seat the entire film, knowing that Pennywise can appear at any given moment.

Even though this film seems like it came straight out of the grisliest of nightmares, there were many times that the audience’s gasps of terror were exchanged for laughter. The protagonist group of kids known as “the losers” has their share of hilarious naivety and well as quick-witted humor, especially on behalf of Richard “Richie” Tozier, the bespectacled and foul-mouthed friend of the group. Tozier is an instant favorite, being portrayed by Finn Wolfhard of the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Even more hilarious was Jack Dylan Grazer as Edward “Eddie” Kaspbrak,” who is the epitome of a paranoid hypochondriac with an overbearing mother.

But to bring it all together was Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise. Although it is difficult to live up to Tim Curry’s 1990 portrayal, Skarsgard’s version seemed almost a little bit more twisted and terrifying, hitting the nail on the head with the evil gaze and manic laughter. The way I see it, Skarsgard’s career will be defined by this iconic portrayal of the evil dancing clown.

The 2017 reboot of “It” definitely lived up to expectations because, unlike many horror movies of the time, it managed to have a compelling storyline while maintaining extreme elements of terror. Even more enticing is the fact that Pennywise is believed to appear every 27 years, and this reboot was brilliantly released 27 years after the original. It’s safe to say that everyone who watches it will want to steer clear of red balloons and clowns for a while.

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