“IT”: Pennywise is back and more terrifying than ever

“IT” – known as being one of the most timeless horror stories in history, was brought to life on the big screen this past Thursday in movie theaters across the country. Director Andy Muschietti, alongside the king of horror himself Stephen King, who wrote the original book in 1986, made the recent adaption thrilling, petrifying, and engaging.

For those not familiar with the story, it follows the seven young underdogs, stuttering Ben Denbrough (played by Jaeden Lieberher), new kid Ben Hanscom (played by Jeremy Ray Taylor), witty Richie Tozier (played by Finn Wolfhard), nervous Mike Hanlon (played by Chosen Jacobs), anxious Eddie Kaspbrak (played by Jack Dylan Grazer), smart Stanley Uris (played by Wyatt Oleff), and brave Beverly Marsh (played by Sophia Lillis), as they try to hunt down the entity that’s stealing children in their town, including Ben’s younger brother, George Denbrough (played by Jackson Robert Scott).

The entity known as IT, is commonly portrayed as a creepy, skin crawling, yet oddly charming clown named Pennywise (played by Bill Skarsgard). This fright-inducing creature is one that feeds on the fears of children, transforming into the child’s deepest horrors in order to capture them in their state of shock. This happens to each one of the children in the group and they start to investigate together to further prevent other kids in the town from going missing, including themselves.

The re-creation of previous movies or short films has been quite the popular theme in Hollywood over the past 20 years. Popular movies such as “Star Wars” or “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which were both remade, were both praised and frowned upon. The negative feedback stems from the thought that filmmakers these days are, “not as original with their ideas as they should be.” So, with the re-creation of “IT” there was a little hesitance on what the modern portrayal of the story, which was once a book by Stephen King (1986) and TV mini-series directed by Tommy Lee Wallace (1990), would be. However, the way director Andy Muschietti presented his vision of what the story was like really emphasized the themes of bravery and friendship through the characters.

All of this credit should not be only given to the director though. The cast was the sole reason why this film deserves the praise it is getting (rated 88% on Rotten Tomatoes). They are what made the movie relatable, exciting, and inspiring in all the right ways.

Skarsgard does an extraordinary job bringing out his inner creepy side to give a performance that would haunt audiences even after they left the theater. Having to fill the shoes of world famous actor Tim Curry, who played Pennywise in the mini-series in 1990, was a big job, but Skarsgard made it look effortless and portrayed the killer clown flawlessly.

Another part of this film that should be recognized were all of the new and upcoming young actors and actresses that really brought the story to a whole new level. Their acting brought out the wonders and innocence of having a childhood, yet also the horrors of them. As the movie goes on, the kids are growing up and experiencing things that we as an audience can only laugh at a little bit because of our own nostalgia.

Moments like having your first crush, swimming in the summertime with your friends, and hanging out with your pals when you have nothing better to do. It really brings back the happy times of just being a kid. On the flip side, all of the kids were bullied and picked on by other kids and sometimes even their own parents.

The raw emotion that is felt about not being in control or the damage that results from a broken home is brought out in all of the character’s families. Most can relate to at least one of them, whether they’re from physically abusive families or have troubles living up to their parents’ expectations. Overall, as newer additions to Hollywood, it is safe to say that none of them will have a problem becoming successes in the future based on their spot-on performances in their debut movie.

“IT” is a classic because it shows those who would be labeled as losers, would actually end up being the heroes in the end. Everyone loves an underdog because, at some point in life, we have found ourselves being apart from the cool crowd. So, to see people like this succeed inspires those who have been in their position before, and that is what makes “IT” relatable to all audiences.

Not only was the modern interpretation of the story detailed and impressive, the cast members were outstanding in all of their performances, and it is so thrilling and mind twisting that an audience member will go home with nightmares of Pennywise the dancing clown.

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Bethanie Barrios

Bethanie is a junior at St. Cloud State and is a mathematics education major with minors in mass communications and special education. This year, she is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle, a director for in house productions at the Herb Brooks National Hockey Center and a math tutor. She enjoys writing, rock concerts, and serving her community and fellow students.

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