Stephen King knows what scares you, and IT was his magnum opus of chills. Director Andy Muschetti proved that he can present unsettling imagery in MAMA, and when teamed with King he brings our most intimate nightmares to life onscreen in a film that is guaranteed to frighten even the jaded horror hounds in the audience. Finally, one of the great modern horror stories gets the big screen treatment it deserves!
Ripping the facade off small town life, IT pits a group of 1980s junior high outcasts against an unspeakable child-killing evil that takes many forms, including the horrifying and unforgettable Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Too many modern horror films settle for jump scares and startling noises. IT brings the real terror, true skin-crawling tension and fright that will have you screaming in your seat… and then checking under your bed before you go to sleep.
Let’s be honest: a lot of Stephen King movies are duds. They miss the essential nature of the horror master’s best work, which parallels the most mundane stuff with unspeakable horrors. King’s monsters live not in a fantasy land but right here, on your street, in the broad daylight. IT gets that, and as a result it’s one of the best Stephen King adaptations ever made. No one understands the place where idyllic youthful innocence intersects with existential horror like Stephen King, and IT is as much a heart-wrenching story of the loss of innocence among a group of good friends as it is the tale of a shape-shifting, kid-killing entity.
Updated for modern audiences (the 1950s setting is now the 1980s), IT gives a new interpretation of one of horror’s most enduring modern icons - Pennywise. The TV miniseries version of IT gave us a Tim Curry interpretation of the child-murdering clown, and now in the movie version Bill Skarsgård gives us a whole new, wholly hair-raising take on this candy-colored creature. You think you’ve seen scary clowns? You ain’t seen nothing yet. And you’ll never look at an innocent red balloon the same way again.