The infamous dancing clown Pennywise in the remake of “IT” is back yet again to feast upon the young in Stephen King’s novel, written by Chase Palmer, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Gary Dauberman and directed by Argentine screenwriter Andrés Muschietti.
Muschietti’s directing is similar to his 2013 horror production, “Mama.” “IT” and “Mama” are his only two feature length horror films and, in both, he uses low lighting whenever the villain is in the shot to give off a shadow around the menacing character with only a faint light in the center of the face, projecting a frightening appearance. Muschietti also uses a great deal of jump scares. This is a great approach for horror movies. It makes the moment so much scarier and will also keep the audience on the edge of their seats because they won’t know when the next one is coming.
Muschietti’s “IT” kisses the former Pennywise played by Tim Curry goodbye. The new Pennywise played by Bill Skarsgard is more terrifying with his obscure clown makeup and red lipstick that begins at his mouth and goes to the top of his eyebrows giving him a very grim and frightening smile that almost resembles the late Heath Ledger’s version of Joker in “The Dark Knight.” Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise’s demented personality and derailed mannerisms, not to mention the very exhausted clothing, tells us that this clown has been around for a very long time and isn’t going away.
The new Skarsgard Pennywise comes out of the old sewers of the fictional town of Derry, dragging down any poor child that dares to look down a rain gutter. He devours them as they scream for help.
Pennywise believes that children are the best source of food since they are easy to lure and are afraid of things that Pennywise can easily manifest into reality. Pennywise shape shifts into his victims’ darkest fears in an action he calls “salting the meat.” Once he has them in his grasp, dinner is served.
In order to fight back against Pennywise, some of Derry’s most vulnerable citizens, a group of seven bullied children, unite together to as “The Loser’s Club”: Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Nicholas Hamilton, and Jackson Robert Scott. The Losers’ Club’s goal is to defeat the hungry Pennywise who is the reason for the dark history in Derry’s accidents involving children and the reason for Derry’s grieving parents. The Losers’ Club will do everything to keep their friendship afloat while tracking down Pennywise. They visit the haunting locations in Stephen King’s novel such as The 29 Neibolt house, The Black Spot, as well as The Barrens where Pennywise stores his leftovers. The group must defend their town and bring justice to all the victims of Pennywise whilst conquering their darkest fears.
The 2017 version is more frightening than the 1990; however, the 2017 movie follows the same theme as the 1990 “IT” directed by Tommy Lee Wallace. One obvious difference is in how the new “IT” is portrayed. The movie is converted in a way to appeal young adults. The New York Post suggests that millennials just don’t like old movies, saying “A new study finds that less than a quarter of millennials have watched a film from start to finish that was made back in the 1940s or 50s and only a third have seen one from the 1960s.” This study suggests that a quarter of millennials haven’t seen the 1990 version of “IT” and would most likely not watch the original “IT” due to its horrible special effects and the lack of CGI.
Another difference is that the CGI work in the new version of “IT” makes Pennywise look demonic in a way that makeup could never do. In one specific scene Pennywise becomes abnormally tall. Also, when Pennywise has his prey in his grasp, he opens his mouth from ear to ear, showing layers and layers of teeth. One other form of great CGI is in a scene where Pennywise opens his mouth — there is a clear shot of his throat where the Spook Lights can be seen. The Spook Lights are a very important thing to Pennywise because it is essentially the thing keeping him alive.
The Spook Lights is Pennywise’s true form. The reason it is not always shown in the movie is because the Spook Lights is force that humans cannot understand and if seen can leave them in a sort of trance.
The 2017 remake has perfect production timing. From 1990 to 2017 would make 27 years, and Pennywise comes out of the sewers every 27 years. This added a great terrifying touch.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the 2017 “IT” an overall 85 percent on the Tomatometer. Rotten Tomatoes also added that the movie is “well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core.” Rotten Tomatoes also explains that “’IT’ amplifies the horror in Stephen King’s classic story without losing touch with it’s heart.” The audience scored the movie with an overall 86 percent.
IMBD gave the 2017 “IT” a 7.8 out of 10 and made an “IT” movie review page dedicated directly for “IT” consisting of balloons and a theme of red and black with an ominous look.
Roger Ebert awarded 3 stars. RobertEbert.com says “’IT’ could have used a bit of tightening as it builds toward its climax, though. While the imagery is undeniably harrowing and even poignant in the action-packed third act, some of ‘IT’ feels dragged out and redundant. And because the final confrontation takes place within a dark, underground lair, it’s sometimes difficult to tell exactly what’s going on, despite the impressive visual effects on display as Pennywise unleashes his full powers on his young attackers.”
In spite of Ebert’s 3 stars, the R rated movie “IT” premiered in theaters September 8 with a run time of 135 minutes, bringing home a whopping $123.1 million in just the opening weekend. The box office total was published as $305,250,480, according to Rotten Tomatoes.
This film is great for young adults. It is recommended for ages 18 and up due to gory images, violence and the very colorful language. It’s a great Friday night fright with amazing special effects. The film was professionally shot and had amazing characters who all nailed their roles. As a returning fan, I was especially satisfied with the film. Pennywise was amazing. He was frightening and nailed every one of The Losers’ Club fears as well as some of my own. Pennywise also had a satisfying amount of screen time as well as scream time.