Remake of Horror Classic Worth The Hype

September 14, 2017

Culture, Opinion

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The remake of Stephen King’s IT hit theaters last Friday.

By Faustina Crum

The latest thriller recently hit theaters last Friday and it’s most likely you’ve heard the buzz. The movie, IT, broke US box office records, bringing in about $189.7 million the opening week. It is said to be the most anticipated horror film in the month of September in cinematic history, but does that make it a well constructed film? Does IT really scare you to your core?

With an opportunity to make an adaption of one of the most well-known Stephen King novels, director Andy Muschietti had quite a lot to live up to when taking on this project. For this reason I was eager to see how Muschietti would construct the film in the eyes of King. A large portion of the film industry today is composed of thrillers, so how would he change the way we see horror?

Like many horror movies, IT consists of jump scares and suspenseful scenes that make your heart skip a beat. This cliche tactic was noticeable, but Muschietti played it well. He geared the audience off track by introducing his humorous perspectives and suddenly wrenching the fear back into our veins. There was no in between; either you hear laughter or screams. Muschietti, however, had much more to offer than horror cliches.  

Pennywise, the child devouring monster known as IT, was both a blessing and a curse for Muschietti. He had potential to create the new and improved monster, but with great power comes great responsibility; especially if you have millions of Stephen King fans breathing down your neck. The original 1990s film by director Tommy Lee Wallace portrayed Pennywise as the nightmare that waltzed around the town of Derry, Maine. Wallace’s perspective of this nightmare was subtlety creepy as he introduced the clown dressed in bright colors and later revealed the blood-curdling reality as the film progressed. Muschietti, however, had a different approach. He was as blunt with horror as possible. His construction of Pennywise, played by Bill Skarsgard, was scarcely a clown. The moment Pennywise was introduced, he was solely frightening with dull colors, large teeth, and an unnerving tone; nothing shouted clown. It made me uncomfortable, but that was the point. His view on horror is not just the ordinary suspense-filled thriller, but a disconcert of reality. The extensive use of gory and unsettling cinematography created that uncomfortable mood that made my feet jump up to my seat and head turn. This adaptation of the original film played out horror like a symphony and I couldn’t look away.

Mixing gruesome attributes with mannerisms we usually associate with children seems a bit risky, but that is exactly what gave the movie the twisted feel of Stephen King. The main reason King based the horror around a group of young outcasts was because it’s so abstract and uncomfortable; It seems to create its own form of horror. There is nothing better than a distorted view of reality to keep you up at night. “The job is getting to you… by the short hairs and, hopefully, scaring you so badly you won’t be able to go to sleep without leaving the bathroom light on,” as King states in his short story novel Nightmares & Dreamscapes. This is one of the apparent motives of the film, which I was quite able to perceive.  

One feature I wish Muschietti constructed differently were the backstories. The main perspective of the film focused on the view of young outcasts, known as members of the “loser’s club.” Their backstories were minimal since the film’s backbone is horror. The fright aspect is very apparent, while the backstory support would have been interesting to see it featured a bit more. It was, however, apparent that each character had struggles and fears. From that I was able to construct of their characteristics and attitudes, I felt genuine empathy toward the characters. “If you like the characters, you care and then the scares generally work,” stated King in an interview about the movie with Geektor

 I truly believe that Skarsgard lived up to Tim Curry’s standards as he slobbered and shapeshifted into the many monsters of Pennywise. It was obvious that each young actor and actress knew their way around the screen as they played each character as if they were made for the role, taking on uncomfortable scenes seemingly effortlessly. I am genuinely impressed with how each character was able to show extraordinary emotion and showcase believable performances of young adults in the 1980s.

 The cinematography was aesthetically pleasing and each scene was obviously constructed carefully. The CGI on Pennywise and the monsters was formulated perfectly into the framework. The way Muschietti directed this film was satisfactory and made me come back for seconds. Even the King of horror said, “I had hopes, but I was not prepared for how good it really was.”

 I highly recommend this movie if you want a good scare, laugh, or to see high quality cinematics. I encourage you to see the film even if you stray away from thrillers; it is worth the sleepless nights.  
IT is currently premiering in theaters such as UA Cottonwood Stadium 16, Premiere Cinema 14 Rio Rancho, and Cinemark 14 Downtown. The film is rated R and requires parental supervision if under the age of 17.

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