I was once like you. The original It, a 1990 adaptation of Stephen King’s classic novel about a murder clown rampaging through a small town, was a masterwork, I said. A modern remake — especially so soon after the creepy clown epidemic of 2016, the one that many people thought was a viral marketing stunt — is totally unnecessary, I whined. The line between horror and comedy is so delicately handled in the original, and so certain to be bungled by a second attempt. Must we foolishly ding Tim Curry’s legacy once again, I asked?
Then I saw … it. That is, the trailer for It.
One thing is clear: It is not messing around. The new film is not corny, or a send-up of the original, or overly precious about the preposterousness of its villain being a figure in goofy face paint and a onesie. There are murky tunnels and cursed projectors and deliciously ominous balloons. The reboot is doubling down on the horror of the original, which appears to be a smart choice: The face-in-the-gutter shot, the one you know is coming, is still going to make you yelp. And it certainly does not seem like the new clown, played by Bill Skarsgard, is going to be cracking as many jokes as Curry’s Pennywise did:
Also? Pennywise 2.0 wears — dare I say, rocks? — a dress and dons a wig that is more Nicole Kidman than Bozo, in what might be the most unexpectedly horrifying image of 2017.
I’m going to have nightmares and I’m going to love every part of them. Join me on this journey of coulrophobia, because the new It looks freaking awesome.