The most highly anticipated horror film of the fall has finally arrived. IT crashed into theaters with record breaking figures for it’s Thursday night debut. Raking in $13.5 million, it’s the third highest Thursday night of 2017 only behind Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and the Beauty and the Beast live action remake. It blows all other horror movie numbers out of the water. Even the king of horror himself praised the film. IT novelist and horror master Stephen King viewed the film early and tweeted his approval.
IT follows a group of kids known as the Losers’ Club in the small town of Derry, Maine in the summer of 1989. The group of seven friends stressfully deals with the town bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) on a daily basis. They assume that will be their biggest issue of the summer until they each experience a terrifying encounter with the the insane Pennywise the Dancing Clown (Bill Skarsgård). Fans of the 1990 mini-series were worried about the new villain in the film. Tim Curry played the original Pennywise with such unhinged charisma that his shoes were going to be tough to fill.
Skarsgård brings his own creepy intensity to the part. It was an impossible feat trying to re-create the same reign of terror that Curry originally showcased. Skarsgård’s method works. With excellent direction from director Andy Muschietti the film flows well building the tension between each encounter with the most unsettling clown to grace our cinemas in recent years. The character of Pennywise is just one of IT’s evil forms. What better way to terrorize a group of kids than claim the form of a clown that states his circus lives underground in the sewers?
The film stars seven kids whose chemistry makes or breaks the whole experience. Horror fans are flocking to the theaters for the scares. However, they get so much more from the unbreakable bond the Losers’ Club shares. The only way to conquer fear itself is to shame IT, humiliate IT and break IT’s spirit. Pennywise can’t feed on children’s fear if they grow strong enough to stare death in the face and still be willing to fight back.
Each member of the group holds a piece of the puzzle that completes the club. The most vicious and personal attack on anyone is Losers’ Club leader Bill (Jaeden Leiberher). After the disappearance of his little brother Georgie, (Jackson Robert Scott) Bill’s fear of never finding him is shoved full forced back down his throat in the film’s most gut wrenching scene when Bill finally learns the truth of Georgie’s fate.
The final showdown is a satisfying temporary ending. Anyone who’s familiar with the story knows that IT feeds every 27 years. The Losers’ Club defeated Pennywise for now, but as Chapter I draws to a close they form a blood pact promising to return to Derry if/when IT starts killing kids again. A sequel is already in development to catch up with the seven friends as adults.
Mini-series and IT novel diehards need to give this adaptation a try. It’s suspenseful, charming, visually stunning and surprisingly funny. For anyone who’s had nightmares of Pennywise lurking in their bedroom doorway, this will only escalate those fears and anxieties…in the best way possible.