The horror genre is an open book; almost any story or idea can be placed in a creepy setting, and those ideas can be ever so eerie – if done correctly. IT (2017) is the perfect example of a horror film done right. The narrative utilises fears and phobias that may seem ordinary, but turns them around to become harrowing aspects of daily life. This is why we chose to revisit IT this week!
It’s a rainy day in October of 1988; Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Martell) and his little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) are sitting in their home surrounded by torrential rainfall, as Bill makes his brother a paper boat.
When Bill coats the boat in a special kind of was that makes sure it won’t be ruined by water, Georgie takes it outside to place it in the stream by the pavement, and watches it float all the way down the street… until it falls into a sewer.
As young Georgie peers into the depths of the sewer, he encounters a not-so-friendly face; a clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård).
Pennywise drags Georgie down with him, prompting his big brother Bill to begin looking for him, and in doing so, learns much more than he bargained for about the history of Derry…
The following year, as Bill and his friends are done with school for the summer, all they want to do is go on bike rides and mess around; but Bill only wants to find his brother, and will go through Hell and back to do so.
The four boys are not alone in their endeavours for long; they pick up three new members who have trauma in their lives, which gives them all the more reason to help Bill, and have less of a reason to be afraid of Pennywise, the dancing clown.
IT follows these kids as they not only face Pennywise, but also the cruel and ruthless bully, Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton). Bowers has it out for the group who call themselves the Losers Club, as they all have hidden secrets or something to fear, so they band together.
What this movie does absolutely perfectly is bring everyday things to light and turn it into a horror show; when Georgie goes into the basement at the start of the movie he thinks he sees eyes leering at him, when in fact it’s simply a reflection.
The film utilities generic fears, such as basements and the dark, and pulls you into believing that there really is something to be afraid of down there after all.
This everyday fear is also mixed in with teenage life; Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) is going through puberty and is seen looking at feminine products, and when she joins the boys at the quarry to jump off the cliff into the water, they stare a little as they are also going through adolescence.
The way the feature still includes the things people generally find scary, and the normal aspect of teenage behaviour is great, as it really grounds the characters and tries to emphasise that they are not supposed to be special (but we all know they are).
Of course, the movie would be nothing without the disturbing presence of Pennywise, and the way he singles out each of the losers’ fears to use against them is ingenious. However, while the clown believes he is injecting fear deep into them, he is actually forcing them to share their trauma and collectively decide to take Him down.
The unsettling scenes in which we see Pennywise himself, we are always on edge. As his body contorts and shifts, you want to look away but you can’t because, as terrifying as a killer clown is, Pennywise’s simple design locks you in and has you feeling like you can’t move…
The different identities Pennywise goes through in order to scare the losers are just perfect; even if their fear seems irrational, it becomes real and distressing. When Eddie Kaspbrak (Jack Dylan Grazer) sees a leper his heart jumps at the thought of looking like that; as his mother makes him seem feeble in order for him to stick around.
All in all, IT is a phenomenal horror movie filled with eerie silences, a shapeshifting clown that knows your inner-most fears, and a group of kids who defy horror and take it upon themselves to save Derry from Pennywise’s reign of terror. It is a daunting film that really gets under your skin…
Watch the trailer for IT below! (Warning: Contains violence and horror)
Written by Melissa, who you can follow on Twitter @melissajournal
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tagged in Stephen King