Director Andy Muschietti (Mama) takes on an adaptation of Stephen King's IT. This is the second time the horror novel has been made into a film. The first time was as a TV miniseries in 1990 which I felt was just ho-hum. This remake is better, not really because of the horror aspect, but because of the deepness of the main characters and top-notch performances by the young cast.
A group of seven pre-teen outcasts in a small town come together to battle a child murdering evil entity, which mainly takes the appearance of a clown calling itself Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård), but it takes on many other terrifying forms. The hero of the piece is Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), a loner who has a stutter, and whose little brother was killed by Pennywise (in an admittedly shocking opening sequence) months prior. Bill sees the killer clown in what appears to be hallucinations, but he's not the only one, as other kids are seeing it too. The rebellious Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) sees the grotesque visions, but her home life is just as horrific because her disgusting father constantly lusts after her. Then there is the lonely, book smart fat kid, Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), who has a secret crush on Beverly.
IT has many unsettling moments and a few mild scares, but the movie packs in so many of the frightening hallucinations early on that the big “terrifying” finale feels rather toothless. What saves the film are the scenes with the kids in their day to day lives. The moments of loneliness, feelings of loss, and the joy of first love come across very vividly. And when they have to battle pure evil, you feel that there is much at stake.