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IT’s Here…Still Here

Alexis Stogner, Contributor

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Based on Stephen King’s best selling 1986 novel of the same name, “IT” is centered around a group of seven children who call themselves “The Losers Club,” and the horrific events that shape their lives one summer in their hometown of Derry, Maine. Every twenty-seven years, “bad things” begin happening in Derry, often involving the disappearances or deaths of the town’s children. When Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes missing, Bill devotes all of his time to finding answers regarding his strange disappearance. Meanwhile, each individual member of The Losers Club has their own encounter with Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), an evil clown, although no one else sees these encounters or believes them to be real. “IT” introduces the audience to each member of The Losers Club, showing sequences of their individual terrifying encounters with Pennywise.

Once the children form a friendship and put the pieces together, they discover that IT is an evil entity that takes on the form of whatever they are most afraid of (ranging from abusive parents to — you guessed it — clowns). The Losers decide to work together to defeat Pennywise and save the town’s children once and for all. With a running time of over two hours, the movie paces itself and distributes its scares pretty well before its emotional ending, although it does rely heavily on jump scares, and the movie’s trailers did give away some of its best moments. The characters’ wardrobes along with the film’s soundtrack add a layer of 80s nostalgia (which make sense, given that “IT” is set in 1989).  

For me, the highlight of the film was the children themselves. The Losers Club was made up of an incredible team of young actors and actresses who were brilliantly cast, and carried the film from start to finish, delivering emotional performances as well as hilarious one-liners that had the audience laughing even during some of the film’s most intense scenes. Each of the Losers has a unique personality and brings something new to the table; however, one thing they all have in common is a lack of responsible or caring parental figures.

The Losers are left to fight for themselves, allowing us as viewers to connect with them and root for them from the very start. The kids also tackle problems more relatable to an audience’s real life, such as bullying, abuse, romance and more, making “IT” feel reminiscent of other classic coming of age films, like “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies.”

Bill Skarsgard’s performance as Pennywise the Dancing Clown was terrifying, and greatly differed from Tim Curry’s classic Pennywise in the 1994 “IT” TV miniseries. Curry’s Pennywise is considered by many to be a quintessential horror icon, meaning Skarsgard had some big shoes to fill when taking on this role. While Curry portrays Pennywise as a normal, almost funny, yet secretly terrifying clown, Skarsgard made him a downright demonic, evil presence whose appearance alone will give you nightmares. Where Curry played a traditionally made-up circus clown with razor-sharp teeth, Skarsgard’s appearance is aided by CGI to create the most terrifying appearance possible.

“IT” broke box office records with its premiere on Sept. 8, becoming the biggest opening weekend ever during the September-October period. With a perfect mix of laughs, scares and heartfelt moments, “IT” was an extremely scary and entertaining film. I watched a good portion of the movie with my ears plugged and my eyes half closed, constantly afraid of being caught off guard by whatever jump scare came next, but I enjoyed every minute of it. I would highly recommend the film to anyone who might still be on the fence about seeing it, and can’t wait for the sequel, which is currently expected for release in fall 2019.

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