It: Reinventing Horror

By: Mariel Priven and Eden Chanko

The movie It, based on Stephen King’s 1986 bestselling novel of the same name, follows a group of young teens who try to stop Pennywise, a murderous clown on the loose in their small town. Unlike many horror movies that are primarily focused on scaring the audience, It is very plot-focused, allowing for character development and in-depth relationships that connect viewers more closely with the characters.

The main characters, each quirky and humorous, are portrayed excellently by young actors, who seamlessly blend comedy and seriousness in their acting. The protagonists are constantly cracking jokes and putting a smile on their peers’ faces despite dangerous times. Simultaneously, through scenes from homes and families, moments of thoughtful understanding, and depictions of struggles, the teens demonstrate their more serious and mature personalities. As a group, this group of six faces and overcomes school drama, familial challenges, and, of course, a bloodthirsty clown.

       Prior to watching the film, Rochelle Dweck ’19 expected a cheesy and predictable thriller, but was “surprised by the feel-good-movie qualities that the characters and their unwavering dedication to each other brought about.”

Costume designer Katherine Jane Bryant and production designer Claude Pare successfully placed the characters in 1980’s rural America, closely following the storyline and setting as written by King. Additionally, certain aspects of characters’ costumes had references to King’s original novel, allowing devoted fans to enjoy this modern adaptation.

Although the movie was very well done, from the perspective of a horror film, it did not meet the standards. After watching trailers and hearing of the screaming that ensued when watching, we approached the movie anticipating constant shrieks and jumps. Unfortunately, due to the story’s fantastical qualities, it was very unrealistic, and thus unrelatable. Other than the occasional shout when a character, particularly Pennywise, would suddenly appear, we were not as scared as other horror movies have typically made us.

Despite this lack of fear that the movie instilled in us, we highly recommend seeing It, as the plotline and characters make the film enjoyable and heartfelt.  

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