by Aaron Hatch
Stephen King novels can be difficult to adapt to film, the biggest reason being what is considered scary in a book can easily come off campy and ridiculous in a film. So, making a horror film with a killer clown that shapeshifts into children’s greatest fears sounds like the last thing a movie studio would want to adapt. But, despite all odds, director Andy Muschietti made one of the most imaginative and entertaining horror films of the last couple of years.
IT is about a bunch of teenage outcasts living in 1988 Maine having to deal with emotional and physical abuse from their parents and bullies, as well as a demonic shape-shifting creature only known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Some may be familiar with the 1990 TV mini-series version of IT, and while that one had a memorable performance by Tim Curry as Pennywise, the original has aged as well as a gallon of milk in the Gobi desert. What is great about this new adaptation is how it can pull off the crazy imagery that the original simply could not with a TV budget.
For starters, Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgård) really feels like a creature that defies time and space, almost like a creature that came straight out of the mind of H.P. Lovecraft. The things Pennywise forms into to scare the kids are not only terrifying but also better delves into the psyche of these kids and why they fear what they fear. Bill Skarsgård easily steals the show, remaining unnervingly creepy, while still being able to have fun with the role.
The biggest reason why you should see IT is that how fun it is, which cannot be said for the dreary, uncreative, jump-scare infested horror films that usually gets released into theaters. You actually like our protagonists, and you don’t want any of them to become killer clown chow, which is an aspect of modern-day horror films that are usually overlooked. The film isn’t saturated with dull blacks and grays, but uses colors beautifully, particularly with the reds with the balloons and…. well, you can probably guess what else.
In short, if you weren’t scared of clowns before you went into the theater, you might have a different opinion once you get out. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.