“It” has great story, characters and clown

In simple terms, “It” is highly recommended for anyone interested in smart horror and disturbing visuals.

Expectations for this movie were high, with the trailers receiving millions of views each on YouTube. However, when another Stephen King adaptation released this year, “The Dark Tower,” received negative feedback from critics and fans alike, some became skeptical of the upcoming horror film.

Fortunately, this film met expectations and beyond, breaking several box office records and receiving positive reviews.

The plot is fairly straightforward: a group of bullied kids called “the Losers Club” face off against an evil shape-shifting entity known as “It,” whose favorite form is that of the sadistic clown, Pennywise.

However, “It” does what few others do by making each of its individual stories interesting and dynamic. The plot is emotionally manipulative as it makes each display of fear reasonable, yet deep.

If I had to pick a favorite part of the movie, it would easily be the characters.

Moving away from typical horror stereotypes, each hero has a particular niche, with one being a loudmouth and another a germophobe, but is not limited to only that role. The film also takes time to explore the characters, with each having a deep backstory without relying on coincidences or plot furthering.

Meanwhile, actor Bill Skarsgård does a phenomenal job as Pennywise, making the character cringe-worthy and awkward, yet terrifying with its childish behaviors.

However, the purpose of this film is where it begins to lose footing. Going for a sinister and creepy tone, there are moments where things began to get too lighthearted. Trying to be humorous and dark at the same time is not always a bad idea, but when the main evil force is lurking over the children’s shoulders at almost every turn, it was awkward to see them laughing and having a good time.

Some of the themes in the movie are fairly blunt. The most direct is that one must conquer their fears to overcome the adversity of evil that challenges the soul. Another is that one can find evil in every human and not just a select few, as there are several bullies and adults that exhibit certain kinds of acts that are not deemed morally right. Pennywise uses this belief to excel in his games, having others do exactly what he wishes.

The film also states that fear is subjective, as not every human is afraid of the same thing. Fear can be fairly simple and understandable, but can also reach levels of outright absurdity.

Overall, “It” has some depth to it but does not capitalize on the themes it introduces. Perhaps they are meant to be explored further in the sequel.

I give this film four out of five stars, with the characters and emotionally invested plot being film’s easy high points. For the beginning of a duology, the movie is a strong introduction to the world of Pennywise and the heroes, taking its time to explore the world and not rushing toward the sequel.