‘IT’ floats at box office to meet terrifying expectations

By IAN LACK Reporter

Editor’s Note: The grading system used here is similar to the 10-point scale used in SDSU courses.



Let’s be clear here: the expectations for “IT” could not have been  higher.

For one, the film is based on one of Stephen King’s most iconic (and terrifying) novels. It was adapted into a well-received miniseries in 1990, highlighted by Tim Curry’s portrayal of the murderous clown Pennywise.

But we have to talk about the advertising campaign of this new adaptation.

When the film’s first trailer was released online, it set the record for the most-watched trailer in 24 hours with 197 million views. That trailer, and each that followed, was utterly suspenseful, teasing the clown’s antics without giving too much away.

To add onto that, clown hysteria has never been more real.

After a series of viral internet videos and online stories last year, the general public was put on alert for clowns lurking around. Perhaps realizing there was a profit to be mined from this hysteria, Warner Brothers fast-tracked the film’s production.

All of these factors combined to create a heightened level of anticipation for “IT” to the tune of a $123.5 million opening weekend. This is the highest-grossing opening for any horror film and the highest-grossing opening for a September release.

So, was “IT” worth it?


“IT” is now less a horror flick and more a cultural phenomenon for collective American audiences. This version of “IT” will do to clowns what “Jaws” did to sharks.

Director Andy Muschietti and the editing team put forward great work in the scares department. The most is made of the demented villain and brilliant young leads, who are some of the best child actors working today.

The film largely avoids the narrative trappings of typical horror films, adapting an emotional story to accompany the scares that led audiences into the theater.

Set in 1988 in the small town of Derry, Maine, the film follows a group of middle school children as they uncover a recurring curse that plagues their town every 27 years. As the team goes deeper into the history of the town, the threat against them grows larger.

This threat, an evil force that consumes the fear of its victims, often takes the form of a clown named Pennywise. Bill Skarsgård turns out an absolutely brilliant performance as the iconic fiend, enough to rival Curry’s original performance.

What’s also surprising about this film is how funny it can be. The writing is excellent in crafting comedy, but also in being emotionally effective. Learning to accept loss and find identity within this film is what propels it and its characters forward.

But the film could have still been improved.

With such a large cast of young characters, the film often relies on clichés to distinguish the characters from one another. Also, the confrontation in the third act comes at an awkward time and ultimately disappoints when the stakes had been much higher until that point.

But the brilliant, young cast, horrifying villain, biting humor and emotionally-resonant story more than make up for these flaws.

You, too, will float for this movie, guaranteed.


Ian Lack is a reporter at The Collegian and can be reached at [email protected].