By Khari Dawson, September 8th, 2017
“Pennywise is sort of this demon of all demons,” says Finn Wolfhard, the comic relief of the movie adaptation of Stephen King’s It. Even though I wasn’t even a thought in 1990, there is no doubt in my mind that the It miniseries still sits comfortably in the brains of many adults as the root of sewer fears. With Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clownof the terrifying two part series, it became an iconic tv bound piece in the way of horror in 1990. But Andy Muschietti’s2017 adaptation of Itis wildly and brilliantly different from the mini series.
Pennywise is now played by Bill Skarsgard, with an exaggerated prosthetic forehead, yellow predatory eyes, and huge front teeth. He terrorizes and eats the children of Derry, Maine, and we get a special look at his tactics as he prays on “the Losers Club” as they call themselves. Made up of Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Grazer), Stanley Uris (Wyatt Oleff), Mike Hanlon (Chosen Jacobs), and Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Taylor), the Losers team up to stop Pennywise and secure a safe future for the children of Derry.
The vibe of the movie is similar to Stand By Me or Stranger Things, playing heavily on the friendship of a few kids in a time period fairly far from the one we are in now.
The film shouldn’t be reduced to a scary movie lost in a marathon of scary movies on Halloween. Not only will you need to find a blanket or two to feel safe while it’s on, you’ll also probably need a box of kleenex. The movie hones in on the different and unique personal lives of most of the Losers, where we get a better understanding of their fears and how they were created. And this also makes the scares better. How Pennywise would turn into a disgusting, zombie-like creature to germaphobic Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Grazer) would be just a pointless scare if we didn’t know Eddie was a germaphobe, for example. Most of the the Loser’s home lives are quite disturbing, like Beverly’s, who has a sexually abusive father. The relationship development is also a reason to shed a few tears (as it should, the kids are best friends in real life). The loyalty that they hold with each other, even with the three newest members of the group, is heart swelling and beautiful. And the movie is also dangerously funny, with Richie Tozier as the main perpetrator of jokes, sex and Eddie Kaspbrak’s mom usually the topic of them.
The kids are incredibly talented and are greatly different from what we see in cast interviews. Like Sophia Lillis, who appears to be painfully awkward in real life is brave and carefree as Beverly Marsh. Or even Jaeden Lieberher who doesn’t have a trace of Bill Denbrough’s horrific stutter.
But when it does come to a good scare, the movie is full of them. The movie is inches away from gruesome. Pennywise is very creative when bringing the kid’s fears to life, and it’s very entertaining to see what he does next. But when he’s not turning into a creepy abstract painting to scare Stanley Uris, Pennywise is terrifying on his own, and some of the best scenes are the one’s where he’s doing something out of the ordinary with a horrifying grin on his face. And the anticipation for what was to come every time a red balloon would appear on the screen was great. Bill Skarsgard exceeded my already lofty expectations.
With the combination of Richie Tozier’s dirty jokes, the friendship between the Losers, and Pennywise’s sharp teeth and shape shifting tendencies, this film is a yes for me.
Khari Dawson is a high-school freshman who is currently homeschooled. She enjoys writing, watching films and listening to Spotify. She is a concert connoisseur and rates GoldLink as her favorite concert experience to date. Check out her work at ilove2writestories.com