By Sydny Guy (Ponte Vedra, FL, US)

 

The fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, increased significantly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This was due to the release of Stephen King’s twenty second book, It. The book flew off the shelves starting in 1986, and then the popular horror novel was adapted into a two-part television miniseries in 1990. The fears of an entire generation were shaped by King’s imagination. Now, a little over thirty years later, director Andy Muschietti is recreating this story to scare a whole new generation.

The main antagonist in the film is an entity from another dimension that commonly appears in the form of Pennywise, a dancing circus clown. However, this creature, which King and the Losers’ Club call “It”, has the power to shape shift into the worst fear of anyone it wishes. Pennywise’s backstory is one of the most obscure of any of King’s characters to date, but somehow this monster made its way to Earth and to the town of Derry, Maine to be more specific.

The new adaptation of It most certainly lived up, and possibly surpassed, its predecessor. The movie is set in 1989 in the small town of Derry, where there has been many disappearances over the past few months. It focuses on a group of friends who cleverly dub themselves the Losers’ Club because of how others in the town view them. The group consists of Bill Denbrough (the leader), Stanley Uris (the voice of reason), Richie Tozier (the jokester), Eddie Kaspbrak (the worrier), Mike Hanlon (the outsider), Beverly Marsh (the brave soul), and Ben Hanscom (the new kid on the block). Over the course of the movie, the kids learn that they must work together to destroy the evil force that has taken over the town, “It”, while also dealing with their own personal issues.

The cast of the film is excellent. Muschietti and his team did a wonderful job of selecting young people who fit the age range of the characters. They did not cast actors who were seventeen or eighteen to play characters that are supposed to be thirteen, which happens often in the movie industry. The situations seemed so much more real and dangerous because the actors could portray the characters accurately. It was refreshing to see young actors get to play the roles they were meant for.

Not only is the casting almost perfect for each character, the child actors that portray the roles of the Losers’ Club are amazing. Those who have seen the Netflix original series Stranger Things will recognize actor Finn Wolfhard in the role of Richie. Others may recognize the actor who plays Eddie, Jack Dylan Grazer, from the recently released CBS show Me, Myself, and I. For those who aren’t familiar with any of the talented young boys and girl who give this movie its heartwarming back plot, they can still appreciate the hard work these kids have put into portraying the terror seen in the final cut of the movie.

The film is an experience because of its psychological aspect. When Stephen King made the creepy creature that lurks in Derry’s sewer system, he knew exactly what he was doing. While most of the viewers will be afraid of “It” because of Pennywise, others will be scared by the thought of the creature coming to life. “It” follows almost no worldly rules. The fact that your worst fear can physically appear in front of you allows anyone to be in danger of the monster visiting them, and helps the threat of “It” stay at the back of viewer’s minds. Even though the movie is set in 1989, it feels extremely with the current times. This makes it feel like the movie’s antagonist could exist now. The fact that the movie comes to life on the big screen is what makes it thrilling to see.

Overall, this movie is a wonderful, psychological thriller. The acting is amazing, the cinematography is wonderful, and the scare factor is there. If moviegoers are looking for a horror film with witty humor, terrifying jump scares, and staying power, then this is the movie they should see.

Rating: 5/5

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