IT is based on the lengthy horror novel of the same name, penned by the famous author Stephen King. King’s work has seen many forms of adaptation, from television mini-series to feature films. He’s one of the most prolific authors of all time, and my personal favorite horror author. The 2017 release of IT marks the second major adaptation of the novel, with the previous two part made-for-tv movie releasing in the 90’s. With a creepy clown named Pennywise, a town teeming with evil, and the nostalgic pings of growing up in the 1980’s, IT has a lot to love.
The film centers around a group of seven children self-named “The Loser’s Club”. Each kid is different and unique in their own way, and it’s easy to relate to them. Made up of six boys and a single girl, the Loser’s Club forms first out of fun, but eventually out of necessity. There’s something terrorizing their hometown of Derry, Maine, and it seems like only the town’s kids can stop it.
Enter Pennywise, the clown persona of the titular main antagonist. Played by Bill Skarsgaard, 2017’s Pennywise is far darker than the 90’s Tim Curry portrayal. In fact, the film maintains the otherworldly and weird themes of Pennywise, bleeding into every facet of the presentation. The adults in town seem just as sinister as the monsters lurking in the shadows, and the Loser’s Club has no where to turn.
The original mini-series and novel is broken into two distinct timelines; that of the Loser’s Club’s childhood, and their later adulthood. IT focuses purely on the first half of this tale, reserving the wrap up for a sequel later down the line. This means that for the nearly 2 and a half hour runtime, the Loser’s Club takes center focus, even moreso than Pennywise. IT is a film about growing up in small town America, and dealing with adolescence and the scary feelings that come with it.
That’s not to imply that the film has no classic horror scares; there’s plenty. IT didn’t actually scare me much, but it did impress me with inventiveness, variety of ideas, and clever takes on the source material. It’s more of a funhouse horror film than one that will truly shake you to your core. I had fun while watching IT, despite its dark themes and ideas. Thankfully, the character of Richie (played by Finn Wolfhard) provides an excellent source of comedic relief, aided by a snappy script.
Overall, IT is far less scary than I expected, but not to a fault. The film is a great snapshot of growing up, the nostalgic that accompanies it, and the truth that is adolescence. It’s well acted, well shot, and well written, and one of the best horror films in the modern age. While it’s not as gory or bloody as some might want, it’s definitely a horror film that will stay relevant for years to come.

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