‘We all float down here’: Stephen King’s ‘It’ movie reimagined


Nick Filipek, Asst. Opinion Editor

Nick Filipek, The Beacon’s resident movie buff and assistant opinion editor, will review movies each week. Want to hear about one in particular? Email Nick at:

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Though many would agree that summer ends when the wave of “pumpkin spice” infused beverages and snacks hit the market, this summer seems to have squeezed out one last blockbuster gem with the reimagining of Stephen King’s “IT”.

In a world full of reboots and reimagined visions, many projects in Hollywood are deemed unnecessary or unwanted. Films like this however show that a “facelift,” if done properly, can not only satisfy the original cult lovers of a franchise but reel in an entirely new audience for years to come.

With high ticket sales across the country for the entire opening weekend, sold days before the projectors even started rolling, the “buzz” on this flick has skyrocketed. After viewing it myself in a sold out theater, on a Thursday no less, I can see why this terrifying triumph of a film has everyone uneasy around clowns again.

For those unfamiliar with the property in any respect, it’s always best to start at the source material. Stephen King released his 18th novel “IT” in September of 1986, where it eventually took the top spot on Publishers Weekly bestselling book list in America that same year. Just under four years later a four hour, two episode miniseries aired to mixed reactions from fans.

The miniseries desperately tried to switch from past to present smoothly to tell the tale of a group of friends who must destroy “IT” and 30 years later must return to their hometown to finish the job.

Like its feature film counterpart, the original had one element that made the story somewhat relatable, and that’s the young talent. The main cast of seven children sold their fear and motivations far better than their adult counterparts do. It seems like there was no director on set for the “adult days” seeing as all the actors throw themselves so far into horrible melodrama that you can’t believe someone was watching and got paid for this.

To make things worse, as these actors overacted, there was cheesy 90’s  background music the whole time making it a task to sit and watch. The only adult seeming to not to phone in his performance is Tim Curry who played the spooky dancing clown Pennywise. His look and feel of the character would go on to frighten children and adults alike for years to come.

Most likely it was his performance that inspired the start of many cases of coulrophobia, fear of clowns. As a child I wouldn’t even look at the box let alone be brave enough to actually try to rent it from Blockbuster. If only I had known then that the movie would end so anticlimactically with the use of horrible effects – yes even for the 90’s – and a bike ride.

A copy of the book can be found on the second floor of the Farley Library, as well as the 1990 TV Movie on the first floor.

This new iteration, directed by Andy Muschietti, known for directing the 2014 Film “Mama,” takes a new approach to telling the story. Instead of trying to fumble between the past and present, this new version strictly focuses on the seven kids in their attempt to destroy the evil that plagues their town of Derry, Maine.

These seven child actors do such an incredible job bringing their characters to life and keeping viewers interested throughout the whole movie. Not once do any of them come across as naive or whiny like most roles tend to portray children in the horror genre. They all deserve recognition and should be watched out for in future films or as future titans of the industry.

Jaeden Lieberher (“St. Vincent”), Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia lillis (“37”), Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, Wyatt Oleff (“Guardians of the Galaxy”) and Finn Wolfhard (“Stranger Things”) are the reason this movie works, and works so well.

Bravo to all of them.

It was especially gratifying to see Finn Wolfhard, who you might recognize from the Netflix original series “Stranger Things,” get to play a complete one-eighty from the role that made him famous.

Last but certainly not least is Mr. Bill Skarsgard (“Atomic Blonde”) who picks up the mantle of Pennywise. It was already a massive undertaking to redesign the clown that launched a million sleepless nights, but to actually embody evil incarnate is next to impossible.

Skarsgard is absolutely terrifying and crushes the role in every sense. From his first moment on screen to his last, there is not a light moment as long as he is on screen, something Tim Curry couldn’t always avoid. Skarsgard’s performance gives the whole movie the weight it needs to work and is another performer who should be watched carefully for greatness.

The best part about this movie was the ending, and that’s not what it sounds like. At the end they confirm that the story of the adult versions of the seven characters will return to face down the clown in part two. This seems like a much smarter plan than trying to go back and forth, and not to mention, Hollywood loves a good sequel. It’s also safe to say that if all the players stay in place for the sequel it actually could be a better than the original.

I give this movie four out of five red balloons and encourage everyone to go out and see it.