It Reviews: A Delightful King Adaptation That Balances Horror And Heart

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That cackling noise you hear isn’t Pennywise, but New Line executives laughing all the way to the bank.

The review embargo for It has finally lifted, and the critical consensus has deemed Andy Muschietti’s reboot to be a delightful King adaptation that balances a coming-of-age yarn with electrifying horror. Which is just as well given Muschietti originally feared that his creative license would have left the legendary author none too pleased.

Alas, that’s not the case; not only did Stephen King take no issue with the plot changes made within It Part 1 – The Losers Club, but the horror mastermind was also left pleasantly surprised by the quality of Andy Muschietti’s final product. Among the review extracts below, you’ll find that Friday’s long-anticipated horror release draws comparisons to the iconic Stand By Me, while there’s also praise for Bill Skarsgård and his deeply unsettling performance as Pennywise.

Empire: More successful as a coming-of-age movie than a horror, It still ranks among the better Stephen King adaptations — no small praise indeed.

Variety: Following the novel’s example, Muschietti has constructed a film that’s just as much ‘Stand by Me’ as creature feature, and casting director Rich Delia goes above the call of duty assembling a group of youngsters who are every bit as funny, irritating and empathetic as the script requires. Lieberher and Lillis are particularly revelatory, their flirtations warm and believable, and Lillis bears more than just a superficial resemblance to a young Amy Adams. But Wolfhard all but steals the show as the gang’s cheerful antagonist Richie.

The critical consensus continues below:

The Wrap: Skarsgård is buried under his make-up for most of the film, and it is only toward the last third or so here that we can begin to really see the actor himself speaking and moving and putting the frighteners on. Yet in spite of its flaws, this new “It” does capture the spirit of the book, and especially its metaphor for coming together as a group to combat evil.”

EW: 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. Part of me kept waiting for a voice-over from Richard Dreyfuss: “And that was the best summer of my life…” Less successful are the sections that trot out Pennywise. The more we see of him, the less scary he becomes. Unless you’re really afraid of clowns, he just seems kind of cartoony after a while.

Collider: Rather than give into its audience’s bloodlust, IT is far more concerned with the trauma, both real and imagined, that its heroes will have to face in order to defeat a creature who feeds on fear. Vibrant, confident, and overflowing with a surprising amount of emotion, IT is almost everything you could want from a modern horror film.

It Part 1 – The Losers Club claws its way into theaters on September 8th. All signs point to the reboot reigning supreme at the weekend box office, possibly conjuring up a new September record in the process. The current estimate pegs the film’s domestic haul at $50m-$60 million, though there’s really no telling how high that figure could climb thanks to positive word of mouth. Stay tuned for more.

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