‘It’ proves itself to be both a good horror movie, coming-of-age story

William Sikich

Ask any self-respecting fan of the horror genre, and they’ll tell you: Stephen King is the master of fear on both the screen and the page. Among his most well-known cinematic gems is a charming little clown flick known simply as It.
Originally released as a television mini-series in 1990, It is one of those creepy classics that simply could not avoid a modern adaptation for long – and it didn’t. On Friday, September 8th, 2017, everyone’s favorite child-devouring clown, Pennywise, gleefully danced his way into theaters across America in director Andy Muschietti’s terrifying full-length film, It.
Much like the miniseries that preceded it, It tells the chilling story of a lovable group of troubled kids living in Derry, Maine. As the gang struggles to deal with the typical childhood problems of bullying and poor parenting, as well as a plethora of individual hardships, they slowly begin to realize that something much more frightening requires their attention. Their classmates are going missing, a tragic pattern of death and destruction plagues their town, and one unsettling figure seems to keep popping up to tie it all together.
As I watched the main characters battle their fears, both clown-related and otherwise, I realized that It is more than just another horror movie full of loud jump scares and creepy camera angles. Sure, it’s got its fair share of both of these things and plenty more to keep you biting your nails to a nub, but stubby nails are far from the focus of this movie. By also providing delightful scenes of heart-warming friendship and an impressive number of “yo mama” jokes, the film offers a great deal more than a simple batch of cheap thrills.
Throughout the entire experience, I found myself laughing, feeling, and fearing for the relatable and multidimensional characters that Muschietti so masterfully develops. Watching them fight the evils of Pennywise alongside the evils of their own home lives, I concluded that It is equal parts horror movie and coming-of-age story.
The film’s powerful theme of overcoming fear is particularly impactful during a monologue of one of the protagonists, Bill Denbrough (played by Jaeden Lieberher); when he admits that walking into the clown’s lair is easier than walking into his own home and not seeing his deceased little brother, Georgie.
In the children’s struggle to overcome their fear of Pennywise, they also struggle to overcome their fear of everyday life. This is really the true beauty of It. Muschietti weds themes of friendship and courage with the emotional tension of a classic horror film to create an undeniably moving story about a group of frightened kids who support and love each other in order to defeat the most paralyzing aspects of life.
So, if you’re looking for an action-packed gore-fest to complete your Friday night horror movie marathon, Pennywise probably isn’t your guy. However, if you love scary movies and are a fan of friendship-themed masterpieces such as Stranger Things and Stand By Me, give It a watch. You may not have endless nightmares as a result, but I am certain that you will thoroughly enjoy the show.