Clowns are ‘It’ this Year

As I was walking around campus this week, I was perplexed to see a balloon tied to a sewer grate.

Walking towards it, I stopped and thought, “Today isn’t the day to press my luck.” As I walked away, I could swear that I heard a distant cackling.
“It” is a film based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name and is directed by Andy Muschietti. This film follows a group of seven junior high school students in Derry, Maine as they are tormented by a creature they call “It,” otherwise known as Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The film finds itself exploring themes of loss, childhood trauma and overcoming ones fears through the power of friendship.

“It” does an excellent job of navigating between a very fun, nostalgic and lighthearted coming of age comedy and a dark, menacing and supernatural nightmare. This was in part by Benjamin Wallfisch’s spellbinding and monstrous soundtrack and Nicholas Brooks’ complementary visual effects. Brooks’ work is most notable in an awe-inspiring bathroom scene involving a particularly clogged sink. This film also shines from its stunning script and amazing cast of characters. At moments, the juvenile and vulgar dialogue between the children in this film felt as if I were watching an R-Rated version of “The Sandlot” or “The Goonies.”

Bill Skarsgård crafts a brilliant interpretation of Pennywise that was the perfect combination of unsettling, sadistic and facetious. The outcome being scenes that can make you chuckle while simultaneously making your skin crawl. Skarsgård was definitely the scene stealer of the cast. Out of the seven stellar performances given by the members of “The Losers’ Club,” the two that stick out the most were Finn Wolfhard (star of Netflix’s “Stranger Things”) as Richie and Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie. They naturally had chemistry as each other’s foil and there was never a dull moment when they were on screen. The film begins to drag in the second act. We start to get into this buddy cop split between the children three quarters of the way through the movie that brings it to a halt in which nothing happens for several minutes, but as we move into the third act, the film gets kicked back into gear. This seemed, to me, a way to isolate the characters in order to set up the final act of the film. I feel like this could have been completely scrapped. The biggest gripe that I have with the film (and a lot of modern horror films) was its overuse of the jump scare. Any time that a jump scare was used without a proper build, the tension in the film gets completely deflated.

“It” is a solid horror film to officially end this year’s summer movies and students should go out and see “It” if they haven’t already.

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