BY LAUREN ESCHENBRENNER
The American Author Stephen King published his horror novel IT in 1986, frightening people with Pennywise the Dancing Clown’s ability to embody the fears of vulnerable children. Played by Tim Curry in the 1990 movie version, Pennywise has been known across the nation as the petrifying clown who can morph itself into someone’s worst fear. The clown is the entity that preys on the local children of Derry, Maine, 1986. He comes roughly every 27 years, using his powers to shape-shift, manipulate, and torment these kids, which goes unnoticed by the adults since they are not Pennywise’s ideal targets.
Is it a coincidence that the two cinematic pieces are made 27 years apart?
The newest movie version, that premiered September 7th, 2017, is entirely based on The Loser’s Club, the group of bullied kids who are targeted by Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). It all starts when Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott), the little brother of Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher ), is sailing a toy boat during a storm which floats down the road right into a storm drain. Attempting to get the boat back and reaching into the drain, the child meets Pennywise. He doesn’t realize that the clown is dangerous which is the reason he doesn’t run away immediately. Casually talking, Georgie reaches for the boat but is pulled into the depths of the sewers, and is added to the list of Derry’s missing children.
Because of the unforgettable incident, Bill and his friends, known as The Loser’s Club (a name generated by themselves in an effort to poke fun at their attackers), journey around town in attempt to find Georgie since Bill believes he is still alive. A brother’s bond can be stronger than anything, which encourages Bill to search for his lost baby brother. Along the way, Pennywise feeds off of fear in each member, taking a form of their worst fears in order to scare them.
Pennywise in the 2017 movie version is played by Bill Skarsgård, who portrays the psycho as perfectly as it probably would have been. He becomes the character in all forms of fear, causing the movie theater to quake whenever he appears on screen. He nails the sinister laugh and ways of wording his phrases, causing the audience to jump whenever he transforms into something sadistic. Skarsgård’s performance puts fear into not only the actors (since they truly look terrified), but also the audience.
The child actors in the movie give performances that are so real they affect the audience emotionally. Jackson Robert Scott (Georgie Denbrough) hooks the audience with his adorable tendencies, but also his magnificent performance as being Bill’s embodiment of fear. Jaeden Lieberher (Bill Denbrough) had an excellent performance as the child lead with his realistic (but fabricated) stutter. His friend, Richie Tozier, who was played by ‘Stranger Things’ star Finn Wolfhard, adds comic relief to the storyline and causes an uproar of laughter throughout the theater. Every child brings their character to life and gives them each a personality that will be remembered by whoever watches the movie. It truly generates suspense with every scene, not knowing if any jump scares were ahead.
Despite these spectacular performances and intriguing plot line, the amount of strong language in the 2017 movie version is massive. Of course, if one suffers from coulrophobia, I wouldn’t recommend this one; Pennywise the Dancing Clown is sure to give someone nightmares. But if you’re a horror junky and live for these types of movies, then this movie is definitely perfect to see and experience. A tip would be to see it with someone of comfort; this is a movie that shouldn’t be watched alone!
Of course, this was only Chapter One, so there will most definitely be a Chapter Two in the future which is probably the children 27 years later as adults, experiencing the same distress they went through as children. Will ‘IT’: Chapter Two be filmed in 27 years? Will they really make us horror fanatics wait that long again? Only time will tell.
Stephen King’s universe has been brought to life, and despite how disturbing and nefarious it may be, it is definitely worth seeing.