The red balloon, the demonic 🙂 , the boy in the yellow raincoat, and a group of determined friends.
Signatures made by the film along with its record-breaking box office success. It is one of the most surprisingly successful horror films, based on a novel written by the master of horror himself, Stephen King.
It lives in Derry, goes into 27-year long hibernation and then comes back to feed on the town’s children. It shapeshifts in order to attract its prey and feed on its prey’s fears by transforming into the same. It’s usual form is that of Pennywise the dancing clown (Bill Skarsgard) and its first prey is Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott), Bill’s (Jaeden Lieberher) brother. Bill is determined to find out what happened to Georgie with the help of his friends.
It was previously adapted into a miniseries starring Tim Curry as Pennywise. Curry’s version is that of a goofy and “innocent” looking Pennywise which becomes malevolent when it is near the prey. Skarsgard’s version is scarier and it sends chills down one’s spin. So, if it’s intention is to attract the prey, was it necessary to look creepy in the first place?
Like in the scene where Pennywise meets Georgie. In the TV show, Pennywise looks adorable and funny and thus Georgie movies closer to it. But in the film, Pennywise literally gives him a jump scare. And I kind of expected Georgie to run away.
IMO, the movie is less scary and more grotesque. There are several gory violent sequence. I lost my appetite for hours after watching this film. The initial scene where Georgie’s arm is ripped is too gory and the haunted house scene looks more like a “haunted house” with more gore and imagery. However, there are many spine chilling moments. Like when Mike (Chosen Jacobs) sees Pennywise’s eyes glowing behind the curtains, the basement scene where Bill sees Pennywise’s form as Georgie and the projection sequence. If the director’s intention is to make Pennywise scary and every moment that follows anticipation, then he has indeed succeeded. The most notable aspect is undoubtedly the red balloon and how it is the creepiest part of the whole film.
At the same time, some of the scenes were silly. Like when Bill sees Beverly walking towards him in slow motion as is he is experiencing some kind of sexual awakening and the effects looked as cheesy as it is in an ’80s film. And the silliest moment from the movie that took a while to grasp is when Beverly’s bathroom was filled with blood and her father didn’t see it. I did like the idea behind her father not seeing it because it is Pennywise’s game of feeding on the children’s fear. Maybe her fear is blood. Or, blood is the one thing she saw after being abused by her father, sexually, and the result might have traumatised her. But what happens afterwards? The loser’s club teams up with Beverly to clean up the bathroom with a song played in the background and some of them even danced to the tune.
That seemed like a goofy moment in the horror flick. However, the *rock wars* scene, although shunned by critics, wasn’t that ludicrous. Despite being all silly with slow motion and screaming, at the end of the day, they were all kids and it is probably the best way in which they defended themselves against the bullies.
Personally, I despise films with gory violence (28 weeks later, saw series). However, what I liked the best about this film is how much time and setup is given for the character development. The script focussed on the each character making it a character driven. All seven members of the loser’s club have depth though all of them don’t have enough screentime. At the end, the film is about the unity of seven friends and how they stood up for one another despite their differences. How they overcame fear and each of their weaknesses. Loss of innocence, survival and finding courage while facing adversity is shown well. Bill is evolved into the toughest person among the group. Mike and Ben overcame their respective trauma and inability to be at par with the townsfolk respectively. Richie (Finn Wolfhard) managed to gather courage to shout at the bullies, who were troubling them, with middle fingers. Beverly (Sophie Lillies) countered her sexually abusive father. The final scene is thrilling because if this development and the plot was able to streamline itself with the same.
My personal favourite development is Beverly’s. She is bullied and has the tag “slut” attached to her due to the rumours spread by her bullies, related to the same. But, she always managed to break a smile and greet those who are in need. Notably with Ben when she noticed that he was lonely and Bill when they had trouble though I despised the idea of them “shoplifting”. She is shown to be the bravest among the loser’s club. As the first person to jump from up the hill into the water, the only person who sided with Bill when it comes to them confronting Pennywise, the first person to be at the giving fight of a fight. I admired the scene where she confronts the bullies and how the rest of the gang were inspired to team up, ending with Richie being a savage. When she was taken by Pennywise and boys gathered to rescue her, I did facepalm thinking that this resorted to the usual stereotypes of her being a damsel in distress, though the book was written in the ’80s where women being a damsel in distress was just an everyday plot. But thankfully, the scenario changed with her *not being* murdered by Pennywise and the reason behind the same. She is the braves and thus a major disadvantage Pennywise itself had to face. Maybe she acquired the courage to face Pennywise due to her own experience with the school bullies and her abusive father. Fear gave her courage. I just wish that the romantic angle focussed on Beverly’s relationship with Ben rather than to cross it with Bill, in a stereotypical love triangle or the hero finally getting the girl. Besides Ben *kind of* broke a spell on Beverly with his kiss and then it happened again with Bill.
Thankfully, the filmmakers did a clever job by leaving the Orgy scene out of the film. No matter how Stephen King tries to justify it, the Orgy was too grotesque and creepy for a film involving children that too involving an adolescent girl with six boys. Eddie is another one of my favourite characters from the movie. He is able to stand up against his mother who had been brainwashing him about his health. Jack Grazer as Eddie is the best performance out of the Loser’s club. He acts effortlessly and is expressive. It was fun to watch him bicker and say several sentences at one stretch while panicking.
Obviously the plot is incomplete because the adult version of the loser’s club does come back to confront Pennywise and we will be seeing that in the 2019 sequel. Plus, there are unanswered questions, like where did It come from? What is with the hibernation?
So, it could be a good time for horror movie lovers.
Featured image: youtube