‘It’ film clowns around with fear

‘It’ film clowns around with fear

Jamie Glenn

With a budget of $35 million, director Andrés Muschietti brings author Stephen King’s novel “It” to life with this unsettling view of Derry, Maine. King’s horror creation was previously brought to the screen by an ABC mini series in 1990. Fittingly (and eerily) the storyline states that Pennywise returns every 27 years, and given that the last version was 1990, the year 2017 is exactly 27 years apart from the original. Spooky.

Story: From paper ships to gore behind the bathroom door, the town of Derry plays suspect to a monstrous clown that feeds on the fears of the town’s youth. Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgård, who can also be seen in the third installment of the “Divergent” series, is the perfect movie monster with his impeccable dialogue and unsettling mannerisms. In this coming of age story, the cast of middle schoolers forfeit their summer vacation to uncover a clown with a million faces, after a number of disturbing and mysterious disappearances begin to stack up. But not only do these kids have to bring a monstrous clown to defeat, they also have to overcome the constant torment inflicted by a vicious group of older kid bullies too. This mutual distaste for the town’s tormentors is what brings the characters together to fight off the evil that lies at the feet of this haunted logging town.

Characters: This film has seven kids at its forefront, so many storylines are told simultaneously. This leaves little time for in-depth character development and viewers with an overwhelming feeling of disconnect. The writers make up for this shortcoming, though, by including realistic colorful  teenage dialogue,  especially with Finn Wolfhard of “Stranger Things” as Richie Tozier delivering the punchline numerous times throughout the film. Sophia Lillis portrays Beverly Marsh, a Molly Ringwald-esque character who finds herself at the center of the male driven “Losers Club,” making her the standalone female protagonist of this film. Had she been missing from the forefront, this film would’ve fallen flat. Jaeden Lieberher of  “The Book of Henry” delivers that of a determined Bill Denbrough, who turns Pennywise’s fear into fuel to find his missing brother.

Style: A horror movie isn’t complete without strong jump scare scenes. This film combines, tense music that is put up alongside predictable jump scares that fall short, given their predictability. They may come across as scarier for the younger audience members, but it’s clear that this film wasn’t made for the younger film goers. The CGI included in the movie makes up for the cheap jump scares, though, given that the impeccable CGI is both crisp and seamless in a manner that is hard to separate from real life. The effects fill this dark movie with a beautiful array of edgy yet colorful scenes.

Verdict: The cast of “It” is full of high spirited teenagers, each contributing a unique perspective to the collective storyline of overcoming the fears that Pennywise embodies. The CGI in this film is seamless with the acting and puts the ’90s technology of the predecessor production to shame, but it also leaves viewers in a predictable state when it comes to the jump scares. Lastly, the film is titled on screen as “It: Chapter One” because this is the first installment in a planned duology. With the sequel chapter to come, this does allow more time to tell a much larger narrative. However, this first movie still feels like its large cast of characters doesn’t allow enough time to fully develop each backstory. But despite this film’s shortcomings, it is a strong successor to the original. It’s clear this film wasn’t created for the faint of heart, but it will be sure to keep you on the edge of your seat until the end credits roll.