380 Days of Halloween Movies: Day 4 - It (2017)
It's October 2017, and the horror season is upon us, and Stephen Kings popular novel "It" has received yet another movie adaptation to the silver screen, titled "It" (Chapter 1), directed by Andy Muschietti (director of Mama), and stars Bill Skarsgard as Pennywise the Dancing Clown
“It” was all the hype over the summer, and everyone was pre-planning their get-togethers with groups of friends. This was that movie that was so important to you in the early summer when announcements came out for the “It” movie that only the closest of friends could share this intimate experience with you.
Multiple official trailers were resinating around the web, and the blood was flowing all the quicker for the Stephen King 2017 adaptation of the ever popular “It”. The likes were astounding for the official launch trailers, and everyone was spreading the word that this movie was going to bring the child within out of you as you fear Pennywise the dancing clown.
Pennywise (the dancing clown), is a demonic clown that can only be seen by adolescents, and he wants you to come join him. His typical hideout is the sewers, and the people residing in Derry, Maine (where the demonic clown lives) are ignorant to the existence of an evil presence. The demonic clown, Pennywise, emerges from the deep depths of hell every 27 years when he has a year to steal the souls of young children.
“It: Chapter 1” follows a group of friends living in the town of Derry, Maine during a time when children are going missing. There is a town curfew that forces children in Derry to be home by early evening, and the first child spoken of in the movie is a young girl who goes to the same school as the group of friends.
The group of friends belong to the ‘losers club’, and one of the groups younger brother goes missing relatively quickly in the progression of the movie. This was the scene from the first official trailer, and the little boy loses his arm when Pennywise lowers the boys arm into the crack in the sewer. The boy is then dragged through the crack into the sewer never to be seen again.
The young boy is listed by the local sheriffs department as being dead, and strangely enough there is not a thorough investigation into the mysterious death of a young boy one late rainy evening. A woman living nearby to the young boy just moments before he is grabbed and taken forever witnesses the boy leaning down to the gap in the sewer. This is the first occasion when things begin to get suspicious, as the woman clearly never spoke to the local law enforcement when the boy went listed as missing, and assumed to be dead. The young boys parents are seen for a short time at the start of the movie, but the father is persistent that his youngest son is dead after being confronted by his eldest son.
Derry’s fully grown citizens are even oblivious to the violence exhibited by a group of local hooligans threatening a young boy at knife point. The elderly couple driving past simply slowly make their way past the incident entirely, only to witness a rising red balloon in the back of the elderly couples car.
The movie is a complete rip-off of Stand By Me, a popular 90s movie that followed a group of boys on their misadventures. You know, that movie that starred River Phoenix, a promising young actor in the 90s who died of a drug overdose in Johnny Depp’s Hollywood club. At a similar time there was River’s brother, Joaquin Phoenix making a name for himself, and he would later go on to be a critically acclaimed actor in some of the biggest box office hits of the 2000s. Add in some Goonies character qualities and you have the ‘losers club’ group from 2017’s “It”.
Except 2017’s “It” is unique because they have added a girl to the group. She is likeable throughout, and offers the chance to throw in some romance between herself and one of the boys in the group. Although, this was a missed opportunity, as the girl merely serves as a sympathy scene stealer, capturing the audiences undisclosed attention as her home life is terrifying because of an abusive father. To reel in the maximum sympathy from the girls family life, they even add in the inability for adults to see Pennywise’s presence, and even the blood soaked bathroom at the girls home. There is no psychological torment to the adults of Derry, but the children are the source of power for the dancing clown, as he must feed on children’s fears.
Anyone who has hit puberty are manipulated by Pennywise the dancing clown to murder their abusive parents, and then move onto helping Pennywise’s objective in putting fear into the minds of the young people of Derry. Pennywise uses the young boy that he killed from the start of the movie to bring the older brother and his group of friends closer to his sewage hideout. Only to find that Pennywise resides in a creepy abandoned house, and the parents of these children act as though there is nothing evil happening within the town, and are not even caring towards their safety out in the woods where they play. The group of older hooligan boys are also prey to Pennywise, but only if they cross the dancing clown, as his main objective is to steal the souls of children by tapping into their fears. This is why Pennywise can also appear as other monsters, as the more fear that a child experiences the more power Pennywise will receive after feeding on them. Technically Pennywise will literally feed on the children, but this is just a scarier way of depicting the clown as he feeds on the children’s souls. Basically, when Pennywise takes a bite out of a child, their souls are lost indefinitely.
Everything wrong with 2017’s “It”: The Pennywise dancing clown was scary, but to feel any fear or suspense the audience member will need to be under the age of 10. Anyone older will see straight through the make-up and CGI add-ins, and this was perhaps the biggest problem with the movie, as the raw talent of the actor playing Pennywise was impossible to rate since for the most part his existence was CGI. If anything, a CGI horror villain is flawed from the get-go since every member of the audience will know the difference between CGI and real human entities. This is when someone would enter with procrastinated visions that CGI villainy can be terrifying, when the reality experience in watching these scenes will be filled with boredom.
The story is one that many teenagers and young adults will be familiar with given that “It” has already been developed as a a two-part movie in the 90s, and Tim Curry was every bit the better as Pennywise as the Pennywise in the 2017 adaptation since Tim was a real person, and not some fake remodelled CGI character villain. This is like asking a person who found The Joker in The Dark Knight cynically scary to go and watch Suicide Squad and say the same thing about Jared Letto’s The Joker. To put it blunt, if you still liked Suicide Squad despite the endless issues, then the 2017 adaptation of “It” should be right up your alley.
2017’s “It” never clarified that it was the first part for something bigger than itself, and this may have given the movie a pass from critique movie reviewers, as this only appeared in the opening credits scene for the first time. The director is a professional horror movie maker, and he has been given all kinds of restrictions for 2017’s “It”: It must be suitable for a 12A certificate at the movie theatres, there must be a group of leading children that represents the same group of kids from Stand By Me, and all of the children characters must be nice. No, there’s more: The older kids at school must be violent and ill tempered, and the entire adulterated town of Derry, Maine must be child abusers, and goodness knows what else. The imagination brings some serious concerns about the adult community in Derry, and this in itself takes all of the fear away from Pennywise the clown, as the parents of Derry may in fact be more dangerous.
If you thought the floating red balloon was scary, then you are in for a treat. The balloon is scarier, and even builds more suspense that Pennywise or any of his other shape shifting demonic forms. At one point in the movie - there is blood all over the girl of the groups bathroom, and parents cannot see what the children see - and the first reaction from the ‘losers club’ boys, is to clean the mess. These boys are quite clearly the psychopaths in this movie, as everything they have seen is all in their heads, as they are only seeing what they want to see as a means of killing at free will. The blood oath taken at the end of 2017’s “It” was made so that they would never tell anyone about the endless violence that they brought into the sweet town of Derry, Maine. Really? At least this way you can take some enjoyment from the movie.
Summary: Hey, if a horror movie cannot be a horror movie as its current self in its current form, then why not make a seemingly terrifying demonic movie, when in real fact we are witnessing the messed up minds of a group of loser boys. All they need is someone to threaten them, and they will be cloaking their violence with fear thoughts and visions, and in the end they murdered in cold blood, but covered up these killings by telling themselves that it was a demonic dancing clown named Pennywise.
To enjoy this movie, you are going to have to dig deep within to treat the movie like a project. There is a horrifying horror story being told within a much meatier horror story - that seemingly victimises the children of Derry, Maine - and makes the adulterated town seem like crazy people who have escaped from an asylum. When, in real fact, there is a group of loser boys who have gotten lost in their shared visions of maddening, and as a result they are using shared spiritual visions to commit cold blooded acts of murders. Maybe this was the way Stephen King intended “It” to be. Truly terrifying. The group of boys are seriously disturbed, and have committed their first reign of terror as children, and 27 years later they will come back to finish off their victims death list.
© 2017 Dreammore