Adaptation of Stephen King’s It Fails to Frighten Audiences

Lauren Girgis, Editor-in-chief

    While director Andre Muschietti’s adaptation of Stephen King’s It delights audiences with its depiction of adolescent relationships and humor, it falls short in delivering the horror promised.

    The film follows teenage Billie and his gang of misfit friends, who coin themselves the Losers Club and  aim to find Billie’s abducted seven-year-old brother Georgie during the summer of 1989.

    They later discover that Pennywise the Dancing Clown has been the one abducting children in the small town of Derby. In the process of trying to save the children and find Georgie, the teenagers must face their personal demons and discover that the adults in their lives cannot always be relied upon to protect them.

    While  the plot excels in depicting adolescent friendships in a humorous tone that lightens up the tense and often depressing mood of the show, It fails in actually terrifying audiences. In fact, the most terrifying scenes from the movie are previewed in the trailer, so they do not shock audiences.

    That is not to say It is not a stellar movie. It is not the supposedly horrifying special effects that make It a must-see movie, but the incredible talents of the child cast, particularly from actor Finn Wolfhard, who plays Richie, and is already well known for his acting on Netflix’s Stranger Things. Richie’s foul mouthed and brash sense of humor provides much-needed comedic relief, and makes for some of the best moments in the film.

    The portrayal of abused teenage girl Beverly Marsh by Sophia Lillis brings into perspective struggles of parental abuse that connected with audiences in an emotional, truly disturbing way. Beverly’s attempt to escape from the abuse of her father is far more horrifying than lame attempts at jump scares in the film, and drove home the theme of the struggles many teenagers go through that is so well depicted in It.

    The last note of the film leaves audiences with a cliffhanger, and very obvious room for a sequel. The movie is the highest grossing horror film of all time, while accounting for inflation. The R-rated feature is faithful to King’s original book, and can be enjoyed not only by horror fans, but fans of comedy and teen movies as well.

    However, it’s the trials and tribulations of the teenagers that disturb audience, not Pennywise that is depicted as the real horror. While still an excellent movie, audiences should not go to see It expecting to be unable to sleep when they go to bed that night. Rather, expect to laugh at witty and oftentimes awkward teenage humor, and feel an affinity with the difficulties and fears of the Losers Club.