“It”: Stephen King’s Derridean nightmare reimagined yet again
By Andrew Becker
What is ‘it’ (aside from the best horror story title since “the Thing”)? ‘It’ can change shape and transcends understanding, because the real ‘it’ is unknown. To some, ‘it’s’ one thing; to others, something else.
To French philosopher, Jacques Derrida, ‘it’ is not ‘it,’ but “the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive.” For many, however, ‘it’ will forever be a clown named Pennywise living in the sewers of the fictional town of Derry, Maine.
Ever since publication in 1986, “It” has terrified readers. The film’s recent reboot’s popularity, starring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise proves that “It” isn’t going away anytime soon. Already slated for a sequel, the recent horror remake “It,” directed by Argentinian director Andrés Muschietti, stays true to the original story where it counts, but takes liberties with the tale as well – such as the decision to update the year from 1968 to 1988.
What’s most surprising about the film is the campiness it balances with the terror. Pennywise the clown, of course, has humous moments. For instance, the old ‘use-someone-else’s-arm-to-wave-bit’ makes a particularly gruesome appearance.
The teen-aged jokes of the young cast eases some of the horror throughout, which admittedly sets the film at risk of being a little repetitive – with such a large core cast, and each character experiencing an encounter with the monster, the film begins to feel quite long.
That said, I’m a bit surprised to say I’m looking forward to the sequel.