RATING: 4 out of 5
If you’re one of the many people who are afraid of clowns, you can probably blame Pennywise from the mini-series “IT” for that. Twenty-seven years later, Hollywood comes out with a movie version of this critically-acclaimed Stephen King novel just in case naka-get over ka na sa takot mo sa clowns at hindi ka na umiiyak pag nakikita mo si Ronald McDonald sa children’s party.
The movie takes place in the small town of Derry in Maine and tells the story of seven young outcasts who call themselves “The Losers’ Club”. Each one is a victim of bullying and gets terrorized by a freaky-looking homicidal clown. Bill, the de-facto leader of the group, begins an investigation when his younger brother Georgie mysteriously disappears into the sewers. (Ang tindi ng problema ng mga batang to, nung bata ako ang problema ko lang kung paano tatalunin ni Eugene si Taguro pag nag isang-daang porsyento na siya.)
They resort to calling this clown “It” because they’re polite American kids from the 1980s. Kung sa Pilipinas ang tawag natin diyan “yung p***nginang clown na yun.” The kids eventually learn that the clown is called “Pennywise” and has been responsible for the murder and disappearance of children every 27 years. Kung bakit walang nagsabi na “teka nga, bakit pa ba tayo nakatira dito?!” and just decided to leave the town of Derry is never explained. But “The Losers’ Club” decide to take matters into their own hands and rid the world of Pennywise once and for all.
If you’ve ever seen an episode of “Stranger Things” on Netflix, you might notice how similar “IT” is to the TV show. The makers of “Stranger Things” has made no secret of the fact that one of the inspirations of the show was the original “IT” miniseries. If you replaced the demogorgon from “Stranger Things” and replaced it with a killer clown, “IT” is what you’ll get. In fact, Mike from “Stranger Things” is also in this movie as Richie, one of the kids from the Losers’ Club. Parehas na parehas sila ng themes e. Friendship, facing your fears, developing a crush (and a boner) in your adolescence; even the humor is the same. But I actually think “IT” is better.
What I really enjoyed about “IT” in fact is how surprisingly funny the movie was! I loved the banter among the boys especially between Richie who serves as the wise-ass in the group and Eddie, the lovable wimp. Kuhang kuha nung dialogue yung humor between friends in their teenage years. (Walang makakapagsabi sakin dito na hindi sila nagpayabangan ng barkada nila sa haba ng mga pototoy nila nung bata sila. Wala!)
There’s also a bit of a love triangle going on between Ben (the nerd in the group or the fat kid kung judgmental kang tao), Beverly (the only girl in the Losers’ Club), and Bill. I normally cringe at things like this but I liked how they pulled it off in this movie kasi hindi cheesy e, it was actually pretty charming and cute. The kids worked well as an ensemble and sila yung nagbebenta nung takot sa totoo lang e. Kung hindi believable yung takot nila, bakit tayo matatakot?
Tim Curry’s portrayal as the monster-clown in the original is nothing short of iconic and has probably made a lot of kids pee their beds in fear. (Hindi niyo ako mapapaamin, wala kayong ebidensya!) That’s why I personally had pretty high expectations when talks of a remake went around. But although I think the 2017 version of “IT” is a pretty good film overall, I think it’s an average horror movie.
For one thing, it’s noticeably different from the recent horror films we’ve become accustomed to. In “The Conjuring” or any of the “Annabelle” films, the demons and monsters come out to play at night. In “IT”, most of the scary moments happen during the day. So you won’t see Pennywise lurking in the shadows too much, mostly matatakot ka by just how freaking weird he is and how he looks. And I think that’s a testament to how great Bill Skarsgard was as Pennywise.
But I also believe that the intention of director Andres Muschietti was to not make the movie too scary. In that regard, parehas ulit sila ni “Stranger Things”. Sure, there are scary moments in the film but nothing that will really haunt you before you go to sleep. So I guess in that regard I think the movie could have been scarier but that’s only based on what I personally find scary. I’m sure there are others who would say that the movie was scary enough as it is.
The end of the movie hints at the possibility that this is the beginning of a two-part series or even a trilogy. I look forward to more installments of “IT” as I think there are still a lot of questions worth asking about Pennywise and the town of Derry. It’s probably explained in the books, but the movie hasn’t tackled where Pennywise came from so and why he does all these things so it’s definitely a story worth revisiting. And while “IT” didn’t make me deathly afraid of clowns (any more than I currently am), it’s still a great time at the movies.
IT is now out in cinemas everywhere.
Photos courtesy of IGN and WARNER BROS. PICTURES.