Fear is the driving force to many horror films these days. It can heighten your adrenaline, face your worst nightmare, or it can force yourself to safety. To a child, clowns can be a mixture of fear and laughter, if you can bypass the makeup and costume. When you grow up your imagination can lead you toward many different directions. It can inspire your world to wonderful endless positive possibilities or it can freeze your soul to a point of no return. Stephen King is the master of wonderful chilling suspenseful novels like The Stand, Salem’s Lot, The Dark Tower, and Misery. It plays on the fears and strength of seven children in the town of Derry, Maine. The title of the film perfectly describes the vagueness and the ambiguity that terrorizes this town. This Stephen King 1986 novel adaptation first came onto the small screen in a 1990 miniseries that still bring chills to my senses. The irony of using a clown that should bring joy and laughter to everybody is the thing we fear the most. Pennywise the Dancing clown, who is played brilliantly by Bill Skaarsgard, tricks his victims into the sewers with playfulness and subterfuge. “We all float down here.” Is going to be every kid’s nightmare. The failure of protecting your own children has left a dark stain in the town of Derry that the parents have decided to ignore the growing problem and sweep it under the rug.
However, there are a few kids who are willing to fight back. Unlike in the 1990 miniseries, this film focuses on seven children trying to unravel the mystery of the missing children. The dynamics and the chemistry of these kids are priceless. These seven children who are charmingly named “The Losers Club” range from a guilt ridden brother who lost his younger brother, Georgie to the only girl in the group, Beverly Marsh, who has some domestic issues at home. Every kid in the club has to deal with their own demons as well the one that is terrorizing Derry. The dialogue between them are comical and trashy, but the strength inside them can weather any hurricane. Taken from the novel, each kid encounters Pennywise in their own dark and creepy way in an effort to wear them down and surrender to his will. The glue that holds them together is the leader of the pack, Bill Denbrough whose brother is taken by Pennywise. Played by Jaeden Lieberher, this kid uses his innocence and determination to portray a brother wanting to find his younger brother, Georgie. Each actor brings their own style to each of the character that brings life to their roles. With Pennywise nipping at their heels, they also have to deal with another thorn in their side, and that is a bully named Henry Bowers. This kid looks like a troubled teen with a mullet with some huge daddy issues. He terrorizes the Loser Club relentlessly throughout the movie that the Club has to lookout everywhere they go. Unlike in the 1990 miniseries, the intensity of Henry’s rampage has increase by ten from racism to murder.
It is a mix bag of emotions in this film that it delivers one hell of a punch. The updated version of this film delivers a great story with lots of wonderfully terrifying screenshots. Pennywise is wonderfully creepy that kids will love and cower away from him. The strength in the Losers Club really steals the show. They show fear, strength, humor, and hope all wrapped in a nice bundle. However this story is not over. Even though the film ended, there will be another chapter in their struggle. Unfortunately you have to wait for another year for the conclusion. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to feel frightened and heroic at the same time.
I give film three and a half movie stubs out of five.