Last year around this time, America had some strange run-ins with clowns. They started popping up all over the country last October to terrify American citizens. There was even one in Thompson Hall of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. After the clown-pocalypse of 2016 ended, we could breathe easy since the clowns finally receded back into whatever creepy sewer system in Maine they all came from. We would never have to be frightened by evil balloon-holding monsters ever again.
Then the trailer for the newest adaptation for the 1986 Stephen King novel “It” dropped, and fans collectively cried a little bit and decided that they had to see it.
“It” is a film about seven friends, nicknamed The Losers Club, trying to destroy an evil clown that has been haunting their town of Derry, Maine, for centuries.
The feelings of unease that come from “It” only go away with time. The image of Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown smiling at you is truly terrifying. Seriously, I can still picture his face, but there is also something that cuts deeper than just what chases The Losers Club. There are few adults in this movie. Every single parent of these kids is either dead, not helpful or a villain. The only safety nets these kids have are one another, and the only way that the movie’s emotional impact could work is if The Losers Club resonates with the audience.
This is where the brilliance of shifting the movie’s genre from horror to comedy comes into play. It is a film about being an outcast and friendship just as much as it is about an evil clown.
The chemistry between the members of the group is perfect. The characters are all three-dimensional and fun. The comedy that is brought through their interactions makes every audience member fall in love with them and gives a needed break from the tension that flows throughout the film.
That, of course, is not why lighthearted moments were added to the script. Viewers feel closer to characters that are fun to watch. The Losers Club kids are just as hilarious as they are adorable, and the “It” writers, Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunaga and Gary Dauberman, knew everyone would fall in love with them.
That fact is that the writers of “It”are evil monsters who probably watch people as they sleep. The comedy and lighthearted sequences of “It” are tricks the writers used to make viewers even more scared and sad than they were before.
The Losers Club is a charming group, of people and watching their joy and humor be pulled from them makes the movie’s impact greater than if boring characters were stalked by an evil clown. Not only this, but Pennywise feeds off every character’s strongest fear. Making the audience aware that these young kids are being stalked by the very thing that plagues every one of their nightmares makes every scare hurt.
Ultimately, making “It” an almost horror-comedy was a great idea. It ties the movie closer to its source material and makes the movie leave an impression on viewers. Leaving the theater, Summer Thompson, sophomore communication major, said that she did not know how to feel about “It” because she had such a range of emotions throughout. That didn’t dissuade her from the movie though, it made her like it even more.
If you haven’t seen “It” yet, just do yourself a favor and go see it. You’ll float too. We all float down here.