As October marches toward its horrifying crescendo, let’s revisit one recent smash hit that shattered the box office and expectations – Andy Muschietti’s blockbuster 2017 adaptation of Stephen King’s chilling coming-of-age saga, It.
Bringing Pennywise the Dancing Clown back to deliriously twisted life after Tim Curry’s iconic 1990 miniseries portrayal, Bill Skarsgård’s newly demonic take on the shape-shifting entity took King fans by storm. Skarsgård masters Pennywise’s uncanny combination of malevolent whimsy and primal hunger, making the painted predator an unnerving screen presence.
Beyond Skarsgård’s mesmerizing monster, It derives much power from its bittersweet evocation of adolescent friendship and resilience. Setting the story in 1989 allows Muschietti to harness peak 80s Amblin era nostalgia, pointing to Stand By Me as a spiritual forefather. The self-proclaimed Losers’ Club feels like a natural descendent of King’s classic coming-of-age cores.
It also stays grippingly faithful to iconic moments and myths from King’s mammoth novel, translating them into chilling set-pieces. The opening sewer encounter and gruesome bully retaliation alone proved Muschietti could balance heartfelt emotion with horror in a way the campy miniseries seldom achieved. 27 years later, Pennywise finally got the faithful adaptation he deserved.
Of course, the record-crushing success of It kickstarted the recent Stephen King renaissance, whose quantity has arguably diminished the impact. But taken on its own merits, Muschietti’s first chilling chapter remains one of the stronger King adaptations, and an uncompromising studio horror smash. Let those red balloons lift you back to Derry this October for old time’s sake. We all float down here…