In the opening sewer scene of It, Pennywise the clown is chatting enticingly with Georgie, and the viewer sees the creepiness we think the child doesn’t quite sense, yet. Then, in masterful subtlety, Pennywise’s expression shifts, and his eyes slide sideways. We glimpse the dark, lost, sinister entity behind the paint mask at the same time Georgie does, before the clown catches himself and recovers his creepy grin. It’s chilling.
It’s also the scariest scene of the film. The rest is too bloody, too obvious, too long, too many alien clown teeth that look incongruously silly instead terrifying. Oddly, though, It still works. Despite the lack of subtlety or originality as a horror movie, it is partly a sweet nostalgic homage to beloved 80’s movies. (Worth seeing for the heartbreakingly lovely quarry swimming scene alone.) Elements of Stand By Me, ET, and Goonies are satisfying, and horror fans will appreciate nods to classics like Carrie and Nightmare on Elm Street.
Really, really short review: Some eye rolls, some warm fuzzies. You won’t have nightmares later.
It is now available on VOD platforms