A self confessed coward, I rarely gather the courage to watch horror movies. I tend to take the ghosts home, long after the movie is over, and my imaginative mind gives them a home both in my head, and under the bed. With the conscious effort of stepping out of my comfort zone, I convinced myself to watch Andrés Muschietti’s IT. ‘How hard could it be?’ I thought, with no prior knowledge of the movie or its reviews. All I saw was a clown and a balloon, and convinced myself that it would be just another attempt at horror, eventually evolving as funny more than scary. Oh boy! I was wrong, and how! Although there have been contradicting reviews across the world if Pennywise was scary enough, it sure was beyond scary for a horror amateur like me.
However, what struck me the most was that IT was not merely a horror movie. It could have been, and it’d still be as popular, but there was more to the movie than immense gore, Pennywise’s growing canines, dangling zombies and ghosts with missing body parts. Reflections of several social plights have been depicted throughout, in a subtle yet outstanding manner. What makes it better, is that such concerns weren’t just on display for the audience to gasp about, but were also dealt with, by their respective victims.
Bullying. What was common among all the kids who dealt with IT? They were all bullied! Several kids across the world lose their self confidence, friends, interest in school and life itself, thanks to bullying. The movie bases its story around kids who were constantly bullied, though seemed weak in the beginning, gathered the strength to stand up against their bullies.
Child Sexual Abuse. Beverly, a seemingly strong and confident girl outside the house, is sexually abused by her own father. It would have been hard to guess that about a child who seems fearless and free, as is with several children out there. The agony is thankfully put to an end, when she refuses to take it anymore, and puts it to rest forever.
Munchausen syndrome. Eddie is a bright yet overtly cautious child, always trying to steer clear of possible infections and diseases, so much that it tends to overpower his personality, decision making skills and ladens him with fake illness and fear, all the time. But why is Eddie this way? The answer lies with his overprotective mother Sonia. Sonia manipulates her child to keep her close to him all the time, while convincing him he’s not a healthy child. This psychological disorder has killed many a dreams and personalities of children all over, raised by parents with this syndrome. Eddie finally beats his fear, to stand up for himself and his friends, against his overpowering mother.
Fat Shaming. Ben spends his summer in the library, because he has no friends. So why doesn’t he have friends? Because he’s fat! It goes on to show how fat shaming isn’t just limited to adults, but begins much earlier. Ben’s weight makes him a favorite target of the bully Patrick. Ben’s story was a great depiction of the world so obsessed with weight, that it forgets overweight people, especially kids, are humans too.
Impatient Parenting. Patrick was probably the most hated character in IT, after Pennywise of course. His father’s impatient and careless parenting, could probably be the reason why Patrick turns to bullying, perhaps expressing his pain of being ignored by his father, through bullying.
Character Assassination. Like several girls and women, dealing with rumors that assassinate their characters, simply based on their lifestyle or the mere imagination of an idle mind or a jilted lover, Beverly is judged to be a girl of bad character. How does she deal with it? She doesn’t! She simply doesn’t let the rumors effect her happiness or way of living.
Who would have thought that a horror movie could play the mirror to an unwholesome world? Also worth a praise, is how the movie depicts, that ghosts are a mere representation of the fear we harbor, and that all one needs to beat these ghosts, is the realization and courage to face it.
The next time you find yourself worrying over fears — physical, spiritual, mental or emotional, remember, fear is relative, but courage isn’t! If it could hide in the supposed losers turned heroes of Derry, it sure does reside in you too!