By Sean Kranske, Contributing Writer
Stephen King’s novels have a reputation for being some of the most entertaining and terrifying stories of our time. More often than not, however, the aspects of King’s fiction that makes it so effective is lost in translation when adapted to film.
King fans can now rejoice that “It” now stands tall as one of the rare King movies that can scare and entertain its audience even if they are completely unfamiliar with the source material.’
“It” tells the story of seven kids who must track and defeat an evil entity that has been abducting children in their small town of Derry, Maine.
The entity most commonly takes the form of Pennywise the Dancing Clown and is portrayed by Bill Skarsgard. Pennywise has been a pop-culture icon since Tim Curry portrayed the character in the original 1990 miniseries, leaving Skarsgard with big shoes to fill (pun intended).
Skarsgard gives his own interpretation of the character by taking a more menacing approach while still sneaking in the dark sense of humor that makes Pennywise such a unique and interesting character.
Any moviegoer walking into “It” just to see Pennywise will not be disappointed. Skarsgard steals every scene that he’s in. Pennywise will make you laugh, cringe, and jump all while behaving in bizarre and unnatural ways that make him impossible to look away from.
However, while Pennywise is the most common form of the film’s evil force, it is not its only form. It takes the shape of whatever It’s victim fears the most. This gives the film another layer by making scenes possible where any individual character is faced with a unique scenario of horrific torment, tailor made especially for them.
None of this would work without great human characters, and this is something that “It” has plenty of. There are seven main children in the film, and each of them has their own quirks and personalities. The film runs at just over two hours, and as a result some characters are more fleshed out than others. However, “It” still succeeds at creating characters that you would rather see live through the film than die, which is something many modern horror movies forget to do.
The way these children interact with each other is a great part of the film. The way they communicate with each other feels natural, and their banter injects a surprising amount of humor into the movie.
While “It” is a great film, it has a small handful of issues too. There are some scenes that are intended to be scary, but instead come across as unintentionally hilarious. While these scenes may scare some, there were a small number of ‘scary’ scenes that left members of the audience chuckling.
Another issue the film has is that there are so many characters that some seem to be pushed to the background. On top of the seven main characters (eight, if you include Pennywise), there is a whole slew of other characters that are forgotten as quickly as they appear. However, the positive aspects of “It” definitely outweigh the negative.
This film is one of the rare movies that live up to the hype, and “It” is sure to please not just horror fans, but any moviegoer that’s up for a bizarre and unique experience.
Artwork by Mimi Albon