by JACOB TRASK
In 1990, Pennywise the Dancing Clown haunted audiences across the country in the TV miniseries It, adapted from the spooky 1986 Stephen King novel. Twenty-seven years later, on cue, Pennywise is back for more in the Andres Muschietti movie remake of It, starring Bill Skarsgard as the beloved horrible clown.
The heavily anticipated film has been out since Sept. 8, and has been the most exciting movie of the month, due to an insane performance by Skarsgard and a really fun cast of young characters that make up the famous “Loser’s Club.”
The best thing about the film is easily Pennywise the Dancing Clown, as it should be. Compared to Tim Curry as the clown in 1990, Skarsgard is simply on another level of scary. Not only is the clown itself far more aesthetically frightening with Skarsgard’s naturally spooky face painted delicately in some incredible new-age makeup, but his performance is awesome.
Every time the clown appeared on screen, I was on the edge of my seat, and the level of anticipation that led up to each appearance made him even more rewarding. Due to our film editing capabilities in 2017, Muschietti is able to create a really freaky clown, far scarier than Tim Curry’s Pennywise. Everything from the lazy eye and creepy, dull-faced pauses to Bill Skarsgard’s puckered bottom lip smile gives Pennywise a whole new persona, which is everything that fans of the old series should’ve hoped for. Skarsgard has something to be proud of with this performance.
Skarsgard is accompanied by a really talented cast of young teens that make up the “Loser’s Club”, the famous group of youngsters from King’s beloved novel, who face their fears head on to defeat the demented clown who’s haunting their town.
Bill, the leader, is played by 14-year-old Jaeden Lieberher (St. Vincent, The Book of Henry). Bill is a strong lead for the film, and Lieberher’s performance is surely a good one. Throughout the movie Bill stutters while he talks, but he comes through when he needs to be brave, and he repeatedly inspires his friends. Among them are some talented unknown actors, like Sophia Lillis as Beverly Marsh, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie Kaspbrak, and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben Hanscom.
Finn Wolfhard (Stranger Things) stands out among the rest of the cast as the loud-mouthed Richie Tozier, who makes a joke about his penis size more than once, among some other funny lines. Wolfhard has some real screen presence, and Richie was easily my favorite character of the “Loser’s Club.” This is what I expected due to Wolfhard’s impressive lead role as Mike in Stranger Things, which was one of last year’s most popular shows. Wolfhard is incredibly talented and really funny, and without him, the “Loser’s Club” would definitely lack charisma.
Although Pennywise is pretty freaking scary, and we get some disturbing scenes, the film is pretty lighthearted, because it’s still just a bunch of 14-year-olds running around a small town during their summer break. If you’re not a fan, what you don’t know is that this story is only the first half of King’s book. The second half of the book happens 27 years later, when Pennywise comes back to haunt their hometown, and Bill calls the members of the “Loser’s Club” to fulfill their childhood promise of killing the clown if he ever returned.
The film ends with a title card that says “Chapter One”, which means chapter two is in the works. There isn’t much news on the second movie, but Muschietti has confirmed that the sequel is going to happen.
The film as a whole is an impressive addition to Muschietti’s portfolio, and an exciting release for Stephen King fans and horror fans alike. It stands strong on IMDB with an 8/10 after three weeks, and has dominated September, earning just under $200,000 in the box office.
If you haven’t seen It, you should check it out. If you don’t like scary movies, you should tough it out, because it’s a really fun movie, and Pennywise is really awesome. It’s the first installment of a fantastic story by Stephen King, and the second movie will likely be as successful as the first.
Jacob Track can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org