IT Reviews: See What Critics Are Saying About the New Stephen King Adaptation

Is it scary? Is it Funny? How is Pennywise? Are there any major problems?

by | September 6, 2017 | Comments

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

The reviews for It have finally arrived, just a couple days ahead of the movie’s release. But don’t let the late timing of their publication signal anything wrong. Just as the initial social media buzz on the Stephen King adaptation was positive, so are most of the full critiques, only now with some reservations. To start, It currently has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 91%.

The film follows the story of a group of pre-teens who face off against an evil, child-murdering entity taking the form of a clown named Pennywise. The highly anticipated movie is reportedly sufficiently scary and does the original novel justice as a drama, too. It’s sure to be a hit and earn a sequel that brings the rest of the book to the big screen.

Here’s what critics are saying about the movie in reviews:

Is It Scary?

Beyond a shadow of a doubt the most blood-curdling film of the year.
Travis Hopson, Punch Drunk Critics

As a well-crafted scarefest, it’s satisfying and exhausting in equal measure.
James Hennessy, 4:3

This is an ensemble smorgasbord of scariness, or maybe a portmanteau of petrification, throwing everything but the haunted kitchen-sink at the audience in the cause of freaking us out.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

It is more intense than it is chilling… there are some good scares, to be sure, but when the movie shifts tones, it does so definitively.
Katie Rife, AV Club

It’s power to scare, ultimately, is not as strong as its power to evoke the joys, confusions and fears of childhood, or its power to leave you wanting more.
John Nugent, Empire

How Is It Generally As A Horror Movie?

Vibrant, confident, and overflowing with a surprising amount of emotion, It is almost everything you could want from a modern horror film.
Matt Goldberg, Collider

One of the best, most exciting, thrilling, heart-filled horror titles that we’ve seen in recent years.
Eric Eisenberg, CinemaBlend

Delivers plenty of ultra-serious and strikingly crafted horror hijinks to feast on.
Matthew Pejkovic, Matt’s Movie Reviews

For the first time in a long time, someone has a made a children’s horror film that feels dangerous… timeless horror gem worthy of repeat viewing, It is an instant Halloween classic that will haunt audiences for years to come.
Brad Miska, Bloody Disgusting

Not only one of the best horror films in years, it clearly stands as one of the best films of 2017.
Clayton Davis, Awards Circuit

How Does It Compare to Other Stephen King Adaptations?

It may not be the best Stephen King movie (even though it comes impressively close), but it’s probably the MOST Stephen King movie.
William Bibbiani, IGN

Among a couple of the best Stephen King adaptations to make its way to the big screen.
Jim Slotek, Original Cin

Faithful to the book’s overall mood while diverging from its particulars, and King fans will surely appreciate the clear effort and affection that went into this adaptation, even as it struggles to become more than the sum of its parts.
Andrew Barker, Variety

Is It Funny?

With plenty of gallows humor, as well as kid banter and inside jokes, It boasts a clever sense of humor.
Brian Truitt, USA Today

How Is Bill Skarsgard’s Pennywise?

Skarsgard is icily menacing, the character’s evil eyes freezing the audience in its tracks. Mostly appearing as a creepy clown, Skarsgård taps into the disturbing juxtaposition of frivolity and derangement that many people associate with this common children’s entertainer. With the aid of makeup and special effects, the actor’s nerve-wracking stillness allows Pennywise to rightly assume his place among cinema’s memorable horror villains; even more appropriate as the film takes place during the late 1980s, when icons such as Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees were haunting cinemas.
Tim Grierson, Screen International

Played to delirious, bizarre perfection by Bill Skarsgard. It’s impossible to best Tim Curry’s performance in the 1991 It TV miniseries, and Skarsgard doesn’t even try…like Heath Ledger did with the Joker (but not that good), Skarsgard finds a new approach to playing a villain made iconic by another actor, and it works surprisingly well.
Britt Hayes, ScreenCrush

It’s a tremendous, unsettling and skillful performance, melding Heath Ledger’s Joker with something straight out of the mouth of hell.
Don Kaye, Den of Geek

(Photo by Warner Bros. Pictures)

How Is the Losers Club Handled?

Though the film is satisfyingly scary, it’s the kids who really steal the show here. Evoking childhood favorites like Stand By Me or Now and Then, the Losers Club is filled with characters who feel so real it makes your heart ache.
Rachel Heine, Nerdist

It is essentially two movies. The better by far (and it’s very good) is the one that feels like a darker Stand by Me — a nostalgic coming-of-age story about seven likable outcasts riding around on their bikes and facing their fears together.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly

These kids, who refer to themselves as the “Losers Club”, felt like my favorite oddball characters from movies such as The GooniesStand By Me and TV shows like Netflix’s Stranger Things.
Jamie Broadnax, Black Girl Nerds

A solid thriller that works best when it is most involved in its adolescent heroes’ non-monster-related concerns.
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Across the board, Muschietti has assembled an amazing crew of young actors with a vibrant energy that makes them really fun to watch, whether they’re reacting (sometimes hilariously) to their dire situation or bonding at a local watering hole. Picture an R-rated Sandlot with a killer clown thrown into a mix, and you’ve got a pretty good start.
Rebecca Pahle, Film Journal International

How Does It Look?

Cinematography from Chung Chung-hoon, Park Chan-wook’s longtime DP, gives the film a richness and texture that’s far beyond that of most Hollywood films, let alone horror films.
Katie Rife, AV Club

How Original Is It?

At times, the movie excels at portraying the dread of children forced to confront a world indifferent to their concerns. But…it’s impossible to shake the feeling that we’ve been here many times before.
Eric Kohn, IndieWire

The problem is that almost everything here looks like route one scary-movie stuff that we have seen before.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

A story that feels not so much freshly imagined as dutifully recounted.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Are There Any Other Major Problems?

Occasionally, the movie feels like it has bitten off more than it can chew, even with its expanded scope. Scenes and sequences sometimes feel disjointedly slapped together, like there were connective moments in-between that were, for some reason, left on the cutting room floor.
Drew Taylor, The Playlist

The non-clown essence of It…as creature design has become easier and more elaborate, thanks to digital techniques, it has also become less imaginative. Movie monsters resemble one another more and more, and movies of distinct genres feel increasingly trapped within the expected. The climactic sequence of It sacrifices horror-movie creepiness for action-movie bombast, staging a big fight in a cavernous space. We might as well be looking at superheroes.
A.O. Scott, New York Times

The escalating horrors are delivered via a rapid fusillade of discrete episodes that suggest journeys in a clunky, analogue-era ghost train. When all else fails, let’s have the mad clown jump loudly from the nearest large box.
Donald Clarke, Irish Times

It opens in theaters this Friday, September 8.

Tag Cloud

pirates of the caribbean The Witch mob CMT Calendar TV halloween Endgame 72 Emmy Awards rt labs critics edition Super Bowl black Tomatazos animated Martial Arts miniseries posters SXSW IFC Films Lionsgate Nickelodeon dark AMC TruTV BBC ratings golden globes First Reviews Best and Worst HFPA 2021 king arthur historical drama art house Red Carpet archives Watching Series south america Star Wars Celebration disaster target scene in color quibi Box Office aliens OWN Ellie Kemper adaptation facebook debate Rocketman cancelled TV series NBA 99% know your critic A24 Women's History Month Funimation crossover The Arrangement sag awards mutant YouTube Premium batman summer TV preview National Geographic VH1 Native Thanksgiving christmas movies 21st Century Fox Oscars space children's TV Prime Video singing competition international political drama fast and furious comedies spinoff AMC Plus news suspense cancelled television action-comedy Discovery Channel boxoffice natural history Pixar Arrowverse FOX 4/20 critics spider-verse elevated horror vs. zombies transformers comic WGN child's play trophy biography Pacific Islander Film TNT Sundance TV Best Actress 79th Golden Globes Awards CBS classics Turner Classic Movies marvel comics TV movies Mary poppins Classic Film Fox Searchlight discovery Brie Larson CW Seed Emmys DC Comics Apple GIFs Netflix Christmas movies binge dceu jurassic park criterion cars Writers Guild of America Pet Sematary Sundance french 2018 Binge Guide monster movies teaser TLC Best Actor unscripted Shondaland nfl cancelled TV shows Superheroes Instagram Live tv talk 20th Century Fox what to watch spain wonder woman American Society of Cinematographers Holidays TV One Geeked Week YouTube Image Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt History Best Picture TCA 2017 cinemax 1990s MCU sports Walt Disney Pictures Focus Features razzies Marathons HBO Superheroe franchise cults Music docuseries Toys spider-man romantic comedy Amazon Studios movie Turner Masterpiece crime thriller docudrama RT History scary movies comics streamig Musical 45 Wes Anderson technology Sci-Fi IMDb TV emmy awards Pop rom-coms adenture toy story YA comiccon mockumentary diversity sopranos Disney Plus harry potter Freeform MGM joker Starz TCA Winter 2020 period drama Mystery richard e. Grant Lucasfilm Star Trek boxing football Logo Trailer theme song latino mcc SundanceTV blockbusters ID breaking bad dramedy Marvel Television Valentine's Day Year in Review toronto Pride Month a nightmare on elm street revenge Sony Pictures Academy Awards MSNBC biopic james bond remakes Photos The Walt Disney Company Paramount Plus LGBT Ovation IFC target Spectrum Originals crime drama Musicals ViacomCBS superman 2020 saw politics slasher casting ABC police drama robots Tarantino See It Skip It rotten movies we love movies live action BET Awards Elton John Hallmark series war australia Cartoon Network cops indiana jones 2017 BAFTA scene in color series OneApp venice Cannes Sony Hallmark Christmas movies dc Biopics Schedule composers prank TBS doctor who NBC screenings zombie Animation Holiday The CW RT21 Fantasy Grammys DC streaming service TIFF high school popular cooking Oscar Disney+ Disney Plus 94th Oscars Tumblr 2016 Teen halloween tv dragons foreign Peacock italian canceled best fresh travel Awards Tour rotten 2015 Fox News Showtime screen actors guild dogs Stephen King President Neflix adventure HBO Max green book 93rd Oscars Marvel Black History Month spanish language Paramount Network E! Pirates asian-american trailers psychological thriller VOD Comic Book gangster social media GoT Emmy Nominations A&E legend telelvision Character Guide canceled TV shows YouTube Red The Academy Set visit USA marvel cinematic universe witnail 71st Emmy Awards Rom-Com laika scene in color film series worst DirecTV all-time GLAAD Food Network worst movies LGBTQ superhero New York Comic Con Chernobyl Winter TV documentaries Best Director Pop TV South by Southwest Film Festival Kids & Family obi wan Universal Crackle basketball Bravo San Diego Comic-Con SDCC genre 90s comic book movie reviews Shudder twilight USA Network PaleyFest video on demand Opinion Travel Channel streaming parents directors Comics on TV serial killer scary talk show WarnerMedia Ghostbusters Countdown feel good award winner Amazon PlayStation 24 frames rt labs Crunchyroll cats leaderboard Sundance Now Exclusive Video 007 Nominations Apple TV+ hispanic heritage month 73rd Emmy Awards BBC One DGA 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards TCA Awards streaming movies spy thriller Lifetime Christmas movies anthology aapi Alien Heroines women kong satire stoner PBS Acorn TV Mudbound new star wars movies Disney streaming service ABC Family versus CNN dreamworks Extras hidden camera Netflix Fargo name the review comic books BET Rocky VICE nbcuniversal japan films sitcom Tubi japanese video FX godzilla E3 SXSW 2022 crime scene in color Avengers Mary Poppins Returns lord of the rings concert young adult Broadway Disney Channel nature 2019 independent hollywood NYCC Adult Swim FX on Hulu olympics Cosplay die hard Rock Election Tags: Comedy renewed TV shows X-Men DC Universe Paramount Pictures The Purge Comedy Central stop motion Paramount science fiction ESPN festival Reality Drama stand-up comedy anime Baby Yoda Western Podcast vampires Amazon Prime Video Television Critics Association TCM blaxploitation ghosts game of thrones Reality Competition Winners festivals Hear Us Out reboot Anna Paquin kaiju Video Games Tokyo Olympics sequels First Look television live event Trivia Song of Ice and Fire obituary Warner Bros. book royal family Marvel Studios Awards kids justice league heist movie Nat Geo ABC Signature psycho Infographic Creative Arts Emmys hispanic golden globe awards Certified Fresh Fall TV TV renewals HBO Go Comedy El Rey Epix Premiere Dates comic book movies new zealand Spring TV Indigenous deadpool Hollywood Foreign Press Association cancelled based on movie Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Captain marvel CBS All Access The Walking Dead jamie lee curtis TCA Universal Pictures rt archives Quiz Britbox Syfy TV Land Star Wars interviews MTV strong female leads universal monsters true crime medical drama cartoon Hulu Columbia Pictures Summer Action FXX documentary critic resources Sneak Peek thriller zero dark thirty romance Mindy Kaling Trophy Talk Horror Legendary Lifetime Vudu hist king kong Polls and Games scorecard werewolf Disney spanish Spike Family black comedy new york Television Academy dexter Country Dark Horse Comics mission: impossible Film Festival Interview chucky free movies ITV supernatural summer TV BBC America game show finale broadcast Apple TV Plus book adaptation Christmas slashers Comic-Con@Home 2021 summer preview Esquire Mary Tyler Moore blockbuster indie APB Black Mirror sequel Amazon Prime