Although I had little notion before entering the theatre, there is no room for doubt anymore after seeing the remake of the Stephen King horror classic novel “It” — clowns are terrifying. Plain and simple.
The film opened last weekend to audiences. Since that time I have kept my head on a swivel for clowns.
The movie takes the audience to the small town of Derry, Maine. Derry is like a lot of small towns. It has a carefree atmosphere with neighbors that know each other and problems are few and far between. But unlike other towns, Derry has a troubled past where children constantly come up missing. Missing posters are so commonplace that as soon as a new child goes missing a new sign is plastered on top of another.
A group of friends fearing for their safety join together to find out what is behind these disappearances. They soon discover that a creepy demon clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard) is taking children into the sewer where he feasts on their fears. After learning about the clown, they hatch a plan to stop him.
While I am not a fan of horror movies, “It” taps into the fear receptors of the brain to give audiences a good fright. My fellow audience members saw my fear first hand as Pennywise‘s tried to entice one of the children to go with him.
Yes, the popcorn in my possession flew from the bag as I jumped in my seat. When that happened, I heard a few muffled chuckles from the people sitting behind me. I guess my skittishness was very entertaining.
The movie is set in the 1980s and, for me, that is a great setting for the horror to unfold because there is not an abundance of technology to explain all of the mystery away. The band of friends — like in the films “The Goonies," “Super 8” or the Netflix show “Stranger Things” — have to investigate in order to advance the story. The dynamic of the friendship and the quirks that each character has makes it very relatable.
The other factor in this film that makes it work is Pennywise’s creepiness. His overall unpleasantness reminds me of a guy hanging out next to a van with a sign that reads “free candy.” The voice and smile he gives his victims also sells the creepy image to the audience.
It is a great complement to King’s novel and surpasses the television miniseries released in 1990.
So, if you are looking for something to give you a good scare, I highly recommend “It.” The one thing that I strongly advise is not to bring children to see this film. During my viewing of “It,” several young children were taken out of the theater by parents.
Again, this is not a movie about a happy clown.
I give “It” five out of five mustaches.
This film is rated R for violence/horror, bloody images, and for language and runs 135 minutes.