So Deliciously Bad, ‘It’s Good

Adaptation of popular King novel an engaging exploration of childhood innocence.


Sam Herger

Maya Dennis, A&E critic

When the trailer for “It” dropped in March, everyone was excited to see a Stephen King novel done right — or at least since “The Green Mile.”

Like “Stand By Me,” one of the other King adaptations done right, “It” focuses on a group of neighborhood kids known as “The Losers Club.” The kids come to realize that all the disappearances and deaths aren’t what they seem, and with a little investigation, discover there’s evil — disguised as a sadistic clown named “Pennywise” — living right under their feet. They decide to find “It” — which is what they term the clown — and put an end to the horrific happenings in their small town of Derry, Maine.

The film starts with a bang and ends on a sweet note. Of course, there’s the classic storm drain scene, well-known to those who watched the original mini-series, but things go awry quickly and the plot only thickens from there.

From the trailer, most can tell that “It” is more frightening than the original. In one scene, the Club gathers in Bill’s garage to talk about sewer lines and a plan of attack. With a map on the wall and an old map on a slide, they’re able to see how the town connects. Once they figure out the commonality, the projector seems to come to life and skip through slides on its own. Already on edge, the kids flip out even more, especially once they look back at the screen and see “It” smiling at them with malicious intent.

One of the reasons King is so popular is the way he writes teenagers. He gives them in-depth back stories, uses the vocabulary a teenager would have, and makes you slowly fall in love with them. His expertly crafted teen characters plant us directly on the side of Team Losers Club.

Meanwhile, their nemesis, Pennywise, is played by Bill Skarsgård, who is fairly new to the big screen. From the trailers, it was clear to see his interpretation would be different from Tim Curry’s campier take — and boy, were people right. Skarsgård’s performance keeps the audience on the edge of their seat, causing them to hide their eyes for fear of being his next victim.

When the film ends, the screen goes dark and slowly fades in the title. But then two words show up that few expected to be in the film: “Chapter One.” Already there’s a tease for a second film based on the second half of the book.

King’s original novel is over 1000 pages and includes two parts to the horrific story. The second part shows the kids all grown up, but still battling their childhood fears.

It’s not hard to see why the filmmakers are eager to delve into a Chapter Two: With lovable characters, an enticing plot and horror that keeps your eyes glued to the screen, “It” delivers.