I'm a freelance actor, travel writer, photographer, foodie and attention seeker living in the lower North Shore. Check out my blog at www.emmajaneexplores.com for more.
Published September 10th 2017
You'll float too
Stephen King's epic horror tale It lives again in this fearsome retelling of his novel of the same name. Not an exact re-make of the 1990 series starring the incredible Tim Curry as Pennywise the Dancing Clown, this new take on the evil terrorising the town of Derry focuses on the stories of the gang of teenagers who are tormented by their worst nightmares.
The terrifying poster for IT
The film commences with the disappearance of Georgie, a little boy who was last seen chasing a paper boat down the street and who falls into the clutches of evil in the form of a terrifying, sewer-dwelling clown called Pennywise (played to unnerving perfection by Bill Skarsgard). Georgie's older brother and a group of other social outcasts band together to find out the truth about Georgie's disappearance during their summer break, and encounter the evil presence that haunts their town. Although often appearing as a clown, this evil can (and does) take the shape of the teens' worst fears: an abusive father, a ghoulish painting come to life and the ghost of Georgie all make an appearance. The teens need to band together to rid the town of the monster and in the process need to conquer their fears.
The film is made beautifully. The cinematography is stunning and perfectly captures the 1980's summer vibes in this small town in the USA. The horror effects are the right blend of impressive and unnerving, although the low-fi jolts and shocks that we're used to in horror films are missing. This movie doesn't go for cheap shocks or jump-out-of-your-seat moments. Instead it creates an air of uneasiness and foreboding, reminding us that evil is just around the corner and can manifest itself as our worst nightmares at any time.
Bill Skarsgard has the daunting task of taking on the role made famous by the incomparable Tim Curry and delivers a nuanced and deeply unsettling performance as the source of all evil, Pennywise. He has the ability to entrance with his playful enticement of the kids, and then switch to guttural growls and unhinged clown dancing as he wreaks havoc on Derry and terrifies its inhabitants. He is at his scariest when he is doing very little – the horror comes from the unease we feel as we know he's about to do something evil.
The true stars of this film, though are the group of teenagers who take on the clown. The self-titled Losers gang are a fantastic bunch of teenage actors and give the film a real 'Stranger Things' type vibe. These kids are all struggling with their own personal battles, but their blossoming friendship and willingness to put their lives on the line for each other when things get really crazy is beautifully captured in the film.
This new version of It may not deliver the shlocky-horror type scares that the original did, but it lingers a long unsettling time after the final credits roll. I'll definitely be avoiding walking near storm drains in the near future!