New “It” movie is a perfect nightmare


Out of all movie genres, horror is by far the most difficult to master. It takes a precise amount of character and plot development, paired with genuine fear that remains terrifying even after the credits roll by. As I walked into the theater to view the remake of the infamous clown tale “It”, my standards were set low. I was bracing myself for a ridiculously terrible film. On the contrary, this remake was surprisingly terrifying and horrifically genius.

“It” was directed by Andy Muschietti and is based on the 1986 horror novel It by Stephen King, which became the iconic 1990 television miniseries under the same name. The 2017 film brought in $177 million, making it the third largest grossing film of 2017 for its opening weekend, and rightfully so. This adaption of “It” stands tall and proud on its own with obvious creative improvements from the original.

The story takes place in the dreary town of Derry, Maine, where an evil clown with murderous intentions, Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), emerges from the shadows to feed on the bodies of children. With the ability to shapeshift at any moment, Pennywise targets the phobias of seven outcasts in an effort to torture his victims before killing them. But the group of young teens proves to be more ruthless than expected, and spends their summer fighting back against their biggest fears under the leadership of Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) and Beverly (Sophia Lillis).

The movie started with a bang and the infamous sewer scene, giving the audience a first glimpse at Pennywise. As opposed to most horror flicks, Muschietti wasted no time with meaningless backstory and set the unnerving tone for the remainder of the two-hour experience with surprising jump scares in the first five minutes.

Another element that set this movie apart was the connection between audience and characters. The main cast of seven children, plus the various side characters, created a goofy atmosphere that offset the chilling events. Amazingly, Muschietti successfully sprinkled in comedy throughout the entire movie, triggering a wave of giggles in the audience that is not normally heard following a traumatizing killing. Additionally, each of the children had proper character development and background stories of trauma, allowing the audience to create a strong emotional attachment to each kid, while also avoiding boredom.

Contrary to my original negative expectations, the film’s plot was well-developed and meaningful, with every scene serving an artistic purpose. The storyline started out extremely confusing and seemingly random for the first hour, but all loose ends were tied up before the credits rolled. Purposeful confusion kept the viewers wanting more, but also caused mumbled questions between the theater seats, and may overshadow the other elements of the film’s beginning. That being said, there were endless plots twists and unexpected developments that left jaws open wide.

Now for the most important aspect: was it scary? If I had to rate the fear factor on a scale from 1 to 10, it would definitely earn a 20. One of the most common mistakes of horror directors is replacing scenes causing true fear with mindless jump scares that fade away before the scene is over. Muschietti blends true cold-blooded terror with these jumpscares to create a delicious smoothie of nightmares. With a shapeshifting antagonist, the possibilities of monsters were endless, and the director definitely took this to his full advantage. From common phobias and spine-tingling suspense to straight-up gore and disturbing images, there is a monster to scare the living daylights out of any person who walks through the theater doors. As a result, each Pennywise appearance managed to one-up the precursor to the point where the audience was almost falling off the edge of their seats.

Forget everything you thought you’ve seen in the horror genre, because “It” is a movie made for the big screens. Unnerving, unsettling, and just plain terrifying, this Muschietti film is one you’ll remember, especially in the shadows of your fears. “It” draws viewers into Pennywise’s malicious game and never lets them go. For an experience that will leave your heart pumping and your doors locked, “It” will provide you with the perfect nightmare that will haunt you for days.

Oh, and stay away from the sewers.