By Anthony Del Vecchio
Halloween may be a little more than a month away, but the scares have come early with the latest film adaptation of Stephen King’s “It.”
Directed by Andy Muschietti, “It” follows the story of a group of seven children who are connected by a series of strange occurrences—including a trail of murders. Pennywise the Clown, played by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård, comes back to terrorize Derry, Maine every 27 years and appears to the children in the form of their deepest fears.
“I liked it. I literally fell out of my seat at one point,” said junior Kendall Clark. “They were able to use some cool, different special effects to exploit the children’s fears.”
The Associated Press reported that “It” earned $218.7 million to date and is now the highest grossing September release ever.
After King’s horror novel published in 1986, ABC adapted “It” as an American-Canadian drama miniseries. Episode one aired on Nov. 18, 1990 and the second episode aired two days later. Many “It” fans refer to the two-episode miniseries as the “original film.”
“What made the original scary has to do with the ability of the creative team to craft an atmosphere of menace,” said adjunct instructor of Communication and Media Studies Julian Cornell. “You can’t, especially in 1990 when it aired, have graphic special effects and gore on TV, so in order for Horror TV to work, it has to emphasize tone and emphasize the psychological elements of the story.”
According to Rotten Tomatoes, “It” currently stands with an 85% approval rating by critics and an 88% approval rating with fans.
“I have the feeling that it will turn out to be a very important horror film in the history of genre. I don’t know if it will break any new ground, though, unlike ‘Get Out,’ but it will probably go down as one of the better Stephen King adaptations,” said Cornell. “I’m only skeptical on how they would be able to bestow enough depth and dimension to the characters because there are so many of them and because the book and mini-series take such pains to develop them.”
Some students who have seen the film had a hard time following the plot and weren’t as impressed with the scare factor, claiming it was actually funnier than they expected.
“At first, the plot was hard to get into but then it was alright after that,” said junior Dante Centeno. “The movie had great jump scares and that was the only actual scary thing about it.”
After “It” released in theaters on Friday, Sept. 8, red balloons started appearing tied to sewer grates across the country. The AP reported that a girl and her friends from Lititz, PA. took credit for the balloon prank, trying to scare their other friends.
The second chapter of the “It” duology is currently in the pre-production phase.
“The next one probably won’t be anything special,” said Clark. “It won’t be good because what’s being done is the movie industry would rather make a franchise with sequels that would make more money than just sit down and actually make a good movie.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.