(image credit: Warner Bros.)

Andy Muschietti’s “It” is the newest movie added to Stephen King’s ever-growing collection of book adaptions and, while not perfect, it is a ray of hope in a somewhat muddled assortment of films. Muschietti seems to have found a way to use the source material and his own vision to make a movie that pleases both book readers and moviegoers alike.

Set in 1988 in the small town of Derry, Maine, a young boy named Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes missing while chasing after a paper boat in the pouring rain. A year goes by and no one seems to care, except for his big brother Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) who still holds out hope that his little brother is alive. Bill and his friends, branded the Losers Club, soon notice that they each are being tormented by strange creatures and memories with a clown at the center of it all.

Right from the beginning Pennywise the dancing clown (Bill Skarsgard) is one moment eerie and creepy and the next goofy and silly, which is what you’d expect from a kidnapping clown who is waiting for someone to get within his arm’s reach.

The acting done by the kids in the Losers Club is fantastic, the friendship between Bill, Richie (Finn Wolfhard), and Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer) feels real. The group felt like they could be real kids dealing with adult problems, not to mention the great performances by Beverly (Sophia Lillis) and Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor); the entire cast seems to fit their roles perfectly.

Few punches were held with the R rating as there are many bloody stabbing, slashing, and ripping scenes. Some of the scenes seem overdone with CGI, but they don’t feel out of place for the movie.

On the same note, the pacing also has some problems with the occasional time-skip and showing every kid meeting with Pennywise that can make the movie feel like it has too much to show. Although, some structure problems are to be expected when the source material exceeds 1,100 pages.

Many of the scares felt formulaic, as in a loud noise plays that startles the audience more than the imagery on the screen. Although there were some creepy moments with a creature standing out of focus and blends into the background until they move or a hand reaching out of the darkness to push a kid.

The movie tries to be a horror movie, but I found that jokes and gags break up a lot of the tense moments. However, the story and the acting do make up for the lack of scary moments throughout the film.

Overall, “It” is an alright horror movie with a great story about kids learning to grow up and face their fears. Hopefully, Muschietti can keep up the good work for the sequel.

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