Critic Consensus: Well-acted and fiendishly frightening with an emotionally affecting story at its core, It amplifies the horror in Stephen King's classic story without losing touch with its heart.
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Critic Reviews for It
I'm writing this not so much as a critic but as an ordinary moviegoer, experiencing Proustian transport via an old-fashioned scary movie executed by a team of filmmakers and actors at the top of their game.
What we're left with is a solid but relatively conventional horror movie, above average but overlong.
The movie is not terrifying but blandly edifying; its scares, foreshadowed as if by telegram, are delivered less effectively than its life lessons.
Audience Reviews for It
I'll preface this review by saying I am no fan of Stephen King, I find many elements of his stories random and borderline nonsensical, and this one is no exception. However, the screenplay, direction, and great performances from the kids, particularly Finn Wolfhard, help this movie float. Horror films need to be more than jump scares to be good, and this one is accompanied by a good moral of growth, facing your fears, and has a good amount of humor to make for a really good movie.
When it comes to horror flicks, we have seen more haunting and outrageous things in recent years. There are a few jump scares and some scenes are wonderfully unpleasant, but not without a sick little twist of humor every now and then. Pennywise works most of the time, as well. The film really soars in his portrayal of teenage friendship, though. The kid actors are all around great, making for likable yet unlikely heroes. A very entertaining King adaptation, already a smash hit that will find its deserved continuation.
The gist here is that the figure of evil is not quite so interested simply in your demise, per se, which would be one thing, but rather in how well it can scare the living daylights out of you before, er, your demise. In that regard the film succeeds quite well. Especially interesting is how the characters all have enough troubles to want to quit Maine entirely even before they meet the please-don't-come-any-closer clown, and no one would judge them. But they have a decision to make ultimately, and on that decision the film turns: to work together as a team or no, problems or no, distractions or no, and the work conveys the enormity of that choice in the wonderful language of adolescence. Good times at the movies.
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