IT...carried me along from the opening frame, rarely missing a beat.
IT may not be the best Stephen King movie (even though it comes impressively close), but it’s probably the MOST Stephen King movie.
This is a really fun movie. Good, too. Not great, but old-school in its approach to scares and, even better, in its approach to the relationships between kids, outsiders who band together to try to take down a monstrous evil. And maybe flirt a little while they’re at it.
More successful as a coming-of-age movie than a horror, It still ranks among the better Stephen King adaptations — no small praise indeed.
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... Less successful are the sections that trot out Pennywise. The more we see of him, the less scary he becomes.
The Hollywood Reporter
It is a solid thriller that works best when it is most involved in its adolescent heroes' non-monster-related concerns. It will prove much more satisfying to King's legion of fans than "Dark Tower" did. But it falls well short of the King-derived film it clearly wants to evoke, "Stand By Me"; and newcomers who were spoiled by the eight richly developed hours of Stranger Things may wonder what the big deal is supposed to be.
At times, the movie excels at portraying the dread of children forced to confront a world indifferent to their concerns. But no matter how many times Pennywise leaps out from unexpected places, it’s impossible to shake the feeling that we’ve been here many times before.
The visions are grim, grisly and graphic, although actual hair-raising moments are rare — a chase here, a narrow escape there. Director Andy Muschietti (“Mama”) keeps the violence lurid and shocking, interrupted by moments of often-profane gallow’s humor.
The problem is that almost everything here looks like route one scary-movie stuff that we have seen before: scary clowns, scary old houses, scary bathrooms. In their differing ways, Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick were inspired by the potency of King’s source material to create something virulently distinctive and original. This film’s director, Andy Muschietti, can’t manage quite as much.
As spine-tingling as a number of individual scenes are, the film struggles to find a proper rhythm. Scene-to-scene transitions are static and disjointed, settling into a cycle of “…and then this happened” without deepening the overall dread or steadily uncovering pieces of a central mystery. Curiously, It grows less intense as it goes.