The genius and goofs behind “It”

Karen Ma

It’s not real. It’s just a movie. It’s not possible.

Whispering this to myself over and over in my head was the only way I was able to keep myself from tearing up just about any time the red balloon appeared on the screen.

On Sept. 8, the long-awaited story of “It,” whose characters and thrills captured the hearts of millions of Americans 27 years ago, made its reappearance on the big screen, quickly becoming the highest grossing horror film of all time.

Below is the trailer for the movie, released March 29.

From the perfectly chosen music accompanying each scene — and by perfectly chosen, I mean downright chill-inducing — to the jump scares (the kind which you knew were about to happen but still made you flinch), “It” is a nearly perfect example of a film that keeps you on the edge of your seat and causes you to fall in love with its characters, no matter how many times you feel the urge to yell, “Don’t go in there!”

Right from the first scene, when Bill, the main character, carefully makes a paper boat for his little brother Georgie to sail in the puddles, we discover that he has a stutter, making him just that much more real — and uncharacteristic of a protagonist in a typical horror movie. And Richie, with his ridiculous glasses and boyish humor that arises at all the wrong, yet right times, offers perfectly timed points of comic relief from the otherwise extremely stressful plot, serving almost as the movie’s way of saying, “Hey, you made it! Here’s an immature joke for you.”

But I say only nearly perfect because of all the unanswered questions. How did It become… It? Why does he only haunt the town of Derry every 27 years? Why did it seem like Beverly would fall for Ben (the yearbook signing, the kiss), but ended up with someone else? What’s the deal with that car with the balloon in the trunk that just drives by without helping Ben while he’s being physically assaulted? And if Pennywise was haunting the seven members of the Losers’ Club, why was Richie the only one who didn’t have a personal encounter with him? Yes, some of these are answered in the book, and yes, leaving your audience wondering can be effective — but when the character explicitly asks the same question in the movie, it kind of defeats the purpose.

Pennywise the Dancing Clown, played by Bill Skarsgård, was also a bit of a disappointment. Knowing everyone’s biggest fear and being able to shapeshift into it (ha, get it) is pretty frightening, no doubt. But no offense, Skarsgård: you’re just not that horrifying. Maybe it’s just my personal opinion, as someone who’s not particularly afraid of clowns, but I mean, you’re really just an oversized clown with a big mouth and the ability to dance to almost any song (thank you, memes).

Nonetheless, “nearly perfect” is still… well, almost perfect. Meaning that the producers were doing it right.

Well-developed characters (for the most part). Scenes that literally make you want to shrivel up in your seat. A theme of sticking together which is so cheesy, yet surprisingly refreshing to see with a group of high schoolers. And a re-release date exactly 27 years after the original television miniseries.

It’s pretty genius.