The success of ‘It’ and comparisons to other horror remakes

Category:  The Arts
Wednesday, September 13th, 2017 at 3:40 PM
The success of ‘It’ and comparisons to other horror remakes by Gabriel Hypes

Horror films have the ability to draw in audiences from a variety of groups. Whether you're a millennial, baby boomer or someone in between, a good scary movie (where you’re occasionally hiding behind a blanket) is something viewers love.

Films like “Paranormal Activity” and “Blair Witch Project” are examples of low-budget horror flicks that captivated audiences and made obscene amounts of money. Looking at films like these, studios love to make horror cheap and hope for word of mouth and a large return.

This has hurt the genre in some ways, causing studios to not want to take risks with horror, only making the cheap ones. So with the risk of losing big, Warner Brothers bet it all on “It,” and boy did they win big.

Much like “Pennywise The Clown” himself, “It” returns 27 years after the ABC miniseries staring Tim Curry. A group of young boys find themselves living in a town that is visited by a mysterious evil being that lives off the fear and flesh of children.

After the death of his little brother, Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) never gives up hope of finding him. Joined by his “loser club” friends, they go hunting for answers, answers that are hunting them back.

Considering myself a horror fan over any other genre, “It” was pretty much everything I love about this type of movie.

Starting with the scary stuff, “It,” for the most part, wasn’t “jump in your seat” scary, it was “make you curl up in your seat, stay with you for weeks” scary. The opening scene, which set the tone for the entire film, and the first scene on Neibolt, is execution that will be talked about for decades.

Even though those were the two standout scenes, “It” never stops with the discomfort. The lowest scares would be high points in other films.

The 1990 Pennywise was the clown that scared a generation.

The 2017 version makes it look like a cartoon character.

Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) was as scary as you could possibly get. From his costume design to the way he presented himself, they really knocked the character out of the park.

“It” mixes scenes of passion and friendship perfectly with scenes of your biggest fears. The connection between these young actors, who were amazing, might be the actual highpoint of the film.

The back and forth dialogue, the summer activities of kids, and the encouraging relation between them is writing that screenwriters from any genre can learn from.

Whenever missing kids are brought up, the “losers” are there to help Bill and when he finally breaks down about his brother’s death, they come to make it better. Watching these children during the film, they did not feel fake at all; they felt like real life people dealing with real life problems.

For a movie that’s set in the past, it sure does nail its time period. Set in the ‘80s, it felt like the ‘80s. Kids were kids, more worried about biking to the swimming hole than caring about a killer clown causing kids to go missing.

Almost everything was perfect in this film, with just some little things wrong (so little that I feel they aren't worth mentioning). “It” isn’t just competing with the top of Stephen King movies, it’s winning. The only one I feel is better would be “Shawshank Redemption.” That’s putting “It” over classics like “Stand by Me” and “The Green Mile.”

The writing of “It” sets up a scary world, a world so scary that the being itself isn't even the scariest part of the film. The adults in the small town of Derry were on the same level of Pennywise himself, just as evil as the demonic being chasing the kids.

It’s no secret that King knows how to write bullies. “Stand by Me” and “Shawshank Redemption” has these line-stepping bullies, bullies that are more likely to stab you with a knife than take your lunch money. The bullies of “It” were just icing on the cake of an already horrible town.

No one was going to help these kids survive except for each other. This movie about a killer clown hunting children turned out to be a story about a group of kids coming together when they needed each other the most.

“It” is going to be hard to top in “Chapter Two.”

Gabriel Hypes is the arts editor for The Spectator. He can be reached at

Tags: it, film review

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