It (2017) – 31 Days of Horror: Oct 31

by Jovial Jay

Welcome to the final installment of 31 Days of Horror. Like with the first film, I wanted to end with a Stephen King film as well, and the recent version of It has garnered high praise.

The remake of It has a lot to live up to. Many people enjoy the book and the original miniseries, which was covered yesterday, still provides nightmare fuel for many people.

Before Viewing

The trailer for It starts with the defining moment for the characters in the film, the loss of young Georgie. From there, it looks like an updated adaptation (no longer in the 1960’s) with kids realizing that something is wrong in Derry. The creepy clown is actually more creepy, and things look very intense. The trailer doesn’t appear to have any of the scenes with the kids as adults.

Presented below is the Trailer for the film.

Spoiler Warning - Halloween

After Viewing

It (Chapter One), takes a chronological look at the story of seven kids that must face their own fears and defeat a demonic killer clown. Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) makes a toy boat for his brother George to use in a rainstorm. When the boat is washed into the sewer, a creepy clown named Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), kills George and pulls him into the sewer.

The next summer, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) & Stan (Wyatt Olef) meet Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), who is being chased by Henry Bowers and his gang, in the woods while searching the sewers for possible clues to George’s disappearance. One of Henry’s gang, Patrick is also grabbed by Pennywise. Narrowly avoiding the killer clown and Henry’s hoodlums, the gang runs into Beverly (Sophia Lillis) while buying some medical supplies.

The boys all go swimming at the quarry the next day and are joined by Beverly. They all discuss the weird visions of things they’ve seen, such as a headless boy, or a creepy painting come to life. Later Beverly encounters her own nightmare, when blood explodes from her bathroom sink, which her father does not notice. The boys all come over to help her clean up.

The next day, Mike (Chosen Jacobs) runs afoul of Henry Bowers and his gang, but in running away he meets up with Bill and his gang, who defend him and chase the Bower’s gang away.  He too has encountered strange visions of Pennywise. So the “Losers Club” decide to make an assault on the killer clown located under the abandoned house on Neibolt Street. They become separated and lose any power that they have while together. Pennywise attacks them and nearly kills Eddie. They split up for the rest of the summer.

Just before school starts, they decide to have one more go at defeating Pennywise when Beverly is captured. The boys make their way into the tunnels under the town, narrowly escaping another attack by Henry Bowers, when they run into Pennywise in a giant cavern with floating children. Bill is captured, but the group decide to fight back as a whole. They save Bill and Beverly and cause Pennywise to go into retreat. Later that evening, they make a blood oath to return to Derry if this creature ever shows up again.

If you open your eyes, you will see what we’re going through. ‘Cause when you’re alone as a kid, the monsters see you as weaker. You don’t even know they’re getting closer. Until it’s too late.” – Stanley

The most horrifying things in this film are not with Pennywise the Clown. Sure, there are moments when he gets scary (and he does get scary), but the horrors I’m talking about are the ones perpetrated on by the human characters.

The 2017 version of It goes places that its predecessor could not go. Partly for the timeframe it was made and partly due to the restrictions of the television format. While the 1990 version created characters that were evil and dislikable, the new adaptation goes so much further. Henry Bowers is a prime example of a cruel bully. His father bullies him, so he in turn bullies those weaker than him. But this film goes to the length of having him kill his father, at the urging of Pennywise, in a very violent way. Having never read the book, I cannot confirm if this is consistent with his characterization there, but it certainly fits for this film. Another horror is Beverly’s father, not just being physically abusive, but sexually abusive, in such a way that really makes the viewers skin crawl.

As with the original, the performances of the performances of kids is really phenomenal. The lack of having any adult scenes to detract from the performance is both a blessing and a curse, since the kids have to sustain the entire film. But I think they do so with a strength not seen in similar casts and films. It will be interesting to see how the second part of the film works with the adults, and if it can live up to the same level of quality. One thing that differs with this cast and ilm, is the heightened sexuality of Beverly’s character. Again, this is not something that could be used on television, but between the rumors that she is extremely promiscuous, and her apparent flaunting of her body at the swimming hole scene sexualizes the character in a way not previously portrayed. According to other sources, the novel actually depicts her sleeping with members of the “Losers Gang” at some point. That element is not introduced in the film. It’s also mentioned by Beverly that she’s only ever kissed one boy, and the rumors about her are all lies. By the end of the film, it is apparent that she’s friends with all six boys, but that Bill and Ben both have feelings for her.

There are obviously a number of other changes between this version and the 1990 version of It. One reason is that the film is longer and needs to support more plot elements, but the other changes all appear to be done to expound on the characters stories. Again, I’m not sure if the expanded moments, and the change of the order of some of the plot elements are more or less consistent with the book, but they work to provide a more thorough depiction of the seven characters.

I am very interested to see how It: Chapter 2 will continue the story when it comes out next year. The adult portions of the original film were arguably the weakest and getting a fresh take on this story, in a chronological order will be fresh and interesting.

Thanks for tuning in an reading the 31 Days of Horror. I hope you enjoyed the write-ups. Feel free to reach out on Twitter!

Assorted Musings

  • It: Chapter Two is due out Sep 6, 2019.
  • Finn Wolfhard is better known as Mike on Netflix’s Stranger Things.
  • Bill Skarsgård has appeared as “The Kid” in the recent Hulu series Castle Rock, a tv-series based on the writings of Stephen King.

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