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New ‘IT’ film makes for a fun and terrifying experience

The ‘IT’ reboot does not disappoint.

"IT" premiered last weekend and has already made over $120 million.

Samantha Diaz, Arts and Life Editor

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The sewer clown and red balloons are back.

The horror reboot of Stephen King’s 1986 novel “IT,” directed by Andy Muschietti, is as fun as it is terrifying. Bringing in $123.1 million opening weekend, the film not only lived up to the original adaptation, but improved on it.

While I usually groan at the idea of any classic movie being rebooted (I’m looking at you Jumanji), when I saw the trailer for “IT” a few months ago, I was immediately intrigued. The promise of a scarier clown, better effects and all without the cheesiness that naturally comes with any ‘90s movie; sounds like a no brainer to me.

We find ourselves back in the town of Derry with our favorite group of losers, while Pennywise the dancing clown (Bill Skarsgård) is on the loose, terrorizing and killing children. The group of friends that face him consists of the leader of the pack Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), the jokester Richie (Finn Wolfhard), the adorable germaphobe Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), the female of the group (Sophia Lillis) and other lovable babyfaced kids.

The film wastes no time getting into the horror while in the first few minutes, we see Pennywise bite a little boy’s arm clean off, then drag him into the sewers. This is the event that sets the rest of the movie into motion, the event that prompts the kids to explore sewers and look into the town’s history.

What they find is that the town they live in has been haunted by the child-eating clown, Pennywise, who comes back every 27 years to feed off of the children’s fears and flesh. They slowly become tormented by the clown until they realize that if they stick together, the more likely they are of defeating him.

One of the best things about the film, even better than all the ‘80s nostalgia and better than the vintage horror movie score, was the newly adapted Pennywise. Any fan of the original “IT” will say that Tim Curry is the only one who can do the character justice. However, Skarsgård delivers an entirely different take on the classic killer clown.

Where Curry was cheerful and making jokes, Skarsgård was ominous and more serious. Even when Pennywise would smile at the children, it was an eerie smile that creeped out the kids more than anything. The voice, the drool coming out of his mouth and his gazed off look all contributes to a much scarier adaptation. The entire movie follows this lead; there are no cheesy or cliche parts, it’s a much more sinister telling of the story we’re familiar with.

Even though the movie starts off with a scare, “IT”  keeps the audience interested and shocked throughout the hour and 45 minutes. From beginning to end, the story does not lose pace or horror factor.

The entire movie feels almost inspirational as you watch the kids get stronger and overcome their fears. As the “losers club” became less fearful of Pennywise, so did the audience; not because they made him look less scary (he actually gets uglier the more antagonized he is), but because you feel a sense of security knowing the group is facing this monster together.

Being both a scary and heartwarming movie, one of the most refreshing things about “IT” was how realistic the children are portrayed. Wolfhard and Grazer do a great job of adding humor to tense moments, and in a natural way that you would expect kids to joke in.

The kids also had realistic fears that a child would have — not always rational. The timid one of the group, Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) was most scared of the woman on a painting in his father’s office, reminding audiences of the small fears we had when we were young. Georgie’s (Jackson Robert Scott) biggest fear was the cellar in his home, where he has to whisper “I’m brave” to himself whenever he walks in.

Whether the kids are being terrified by Pennywise or cracking jokes at inappropriate times, the acting from such young, many unknown actors, makes the movie that much more believable. Each of the main characters has their “hero” moment of standing up to the thing that haunted them throughout the film, and they all seem genuinely terrified at the sight of Pennywise.

“IT” was the box office hit we’ve been waiting for all summer, and well worth the wait. The film perfectly balances horror and humor while providing a fun take on a classic story. I’ll be the first in line to see the losers face Pennywise in the promised chapter two.

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