IT: You’ll Float Too
In 2016 there were various sightings of clowns starting in South Carolina. From that point, they started increasing in number and location, creating many terrors and violent claims made toward these clowns. There is a story, such as this, that has been around since the 90’s called IT. Stephen King’s IT tells a story of a terrifying creature in the form of a clown named Pennywise. People go missing and seem to never be seen again. Without spoiling the rest of the production, there has been a 2017 release of the movie, directed by Andres Muschietti. Already, there has been talk about this film creating various controversies between the 2017 version and the 90’s version. A main argument that I have come across is if the movie is scary, or not.
To many, this film is frightening, while others believe this film has heart and humor. Julia Alexander wrote an article, on a website called Polygon, called It Review: Don’t expect to be scared out of your pants. In Alexander’s article she states: “All of the telltale signs that point toward It understanding it’s a horror movie are there; dramatic music cues foreshadowing a jump scare are prominent through the film’s first half. There’s just enough gore spread across just enough closeups of Pennywise the clown’s butt-clenching worthy face to make sure you’re aware this is a horror movie. The problem is that it’s just not scary.” (Alexander 2017). In this article, she clearly explains how the movie isn’t really to alarm you, but how the kids in the Losers’ Club conquer their individual fears. Julia further explains that the cast is what created the movie, and the movie was full of heart and determination. Although the movie seems to be scary and frightening, according to Miss Alexander, IT is not what it is portrayed to be.
In a similar perspective, on Time.com, Stephanie Zacharek shares her review entitled Review: Slick and Entertaining, It can’t match the horror of Stephen King’s Classic. Zacharek explains how Pennywise is terrifying at first, but by about the twentieth time he doesn’t appear as a frightening figure anymore. Muschietti is shown to try a little too hard to make IT creepy, but in actuality it lacks the scare factor because of how many times Pennywise shows up in the film. Both Alexander and Zacharek agree that the film wasn’t as frightening as it was hoped to be, and both articles, to an extent, share similar reasoning in which Muschietti made it clear Pennywise was terrifying , but overdoing the scare factor created a movie that just wasn’t as scary.
With there being those who don’t think the screenplay is horrific, there is always an opposing side to the argument. Jason Guerrasio did just that in his article, ‘It’ is a unique horror movie that’s as funny as it is scary, and it looks like fall’s first hit. In this article, Jason implies that he recognizes that the film does has some big shoes to fill by competing with the 90’s hit movie. Mr. Guerrasio also goes on to explain how Muschietti set a new feel and view to the film. The film is a little more realistic, such as the foul language. Guerrasio goes on to say,“And though it’s hard to top Curry’s Pennywise, Bill Skarsgård gives a solid performance, helped out greatly by CGI to pull off the scares.” (Guerrasio 2017). He acknowledged the fact that, yes the film isn’t the original, but he gave credit to how hard the director worked to put the film and actor(s) together, and make Pennywise a horrifying clown.
With all this controversy there is one question: Can Bill Skarsgard fill the shoes of Tim Curry? The beginning of the article, The Actor Who Plays ‘It’ Is So Gorgeous Your Nightmares Will Turn into Fantasies by Alana Altmann, says “And Bill has big clown shoes to fill. Tim Curry originated the role in the 1990 miniseries adaptation to hair-raising perfection, so it’s hard to not think of that portrayal when picturing the monstrous concept come to life. So many children of the ’80s and the ’90s probably have him to thank when it comes to their recurring nightmares. But Bill’s take is a different one and will give this generation a new kind of Pennywise to stress about.” (Altmann 2017) Skarsgard also explains how Pennywise shouldn’t be hidden because he does what he loves. Pennywise loves to eat children and loves the fear they provide him. In this article I extract the sense that the movie was meant to bring the scare factor. The production wasn’t to be hiding Pennywise, but to show his explicit identity by having Pennywise show up at random times at random places. Having said that, the fear factor is added to the children and audience. It is assumed It will show up at any time, but it is unknown what he will do or what form of existence he will be presented as.
Within the articles I read, I would have to side with Jason Guerrasio and Alana Altmann. This movie is purposely supposed to be scary because it explicitly shows who Pennywise is. You expect the unexpected because you’ve seen the original movie and have read the novel. Although there were high standards for the 2017 IT, Muschietti and the cast provided a new feel and perspective to the table. In 2017 there are more technological advances creating a different visual, but if you made it the same as the original then what’s the point? Movies, such as this, will not all be the same as the original or the book, however there will be updated technology, generations, cast, costumes, and the whole plot. The originality is still there, but there is a twist that Muschietti decided to add to it which makes the film what it is. The cast is strong, the determination and heart is strong, and so is the scare factor.
Keeping in mind about the originality of the 90’s version, I disagree most with Julia Alexander in her article. She goes to explain how the fear is just thrown out there; this is accurate, but there is reasoning. The movie shows Pennywise more than needed, but that’s because the production is showing who It really is. Who knows, maybe the film wasn’t meant to be as scary as it appears, but it shows what modern technology can do. I believe the rage and disagreement this author of the article has is that it isn’t like the original. Movie remakes aren’t all supposed to be like the original, otherwise there would be no point in updating a film with everything the same.
The modern era sees remake films, such as these, to be shunned upon. The amount of work and heart put into IT is tremendous, and Muschietti’s vision for the screenplay was what he intended. The younger audience may love it more than adults because there is a difference in age. With that being said, the more impact of the movie is within the younger generation. Teens and children tend to be targeted more, as that will be our next generation and are seen to be more of where the viewers come from. Kids are most impacted and have a greater effect on others. The evidence is in the clown sightings in 2016 when they were threatening children. Modern times are different than the past, but you can’t recreate the past without a modern touch.