Cert: 16; Now showing
Some people will be most horrified to know that it has been 27 years since the first film version of Stephen King’s novel. That fact is actually scarier than this new version which, while short on horror per se definitely has one creepy clown and although way too long at two hours 15 minutes, is really enjoyable.
This is part one of an IT duology and it takes its time creating characters and setting the scene. It’s Derry, Maine in 1988 and a boy called Bill (Jaeden Lieberher) makes a paper boat for his little brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott). Georgie goes missing, we know what happened to him but in the town he simply joins the ranks of missing children that no-one really wants to talk about.
The following year the local high school breaks up for summer, but not before we’ve met lost new boy Ben (Jer- emy Ray Taylor) and female outsider Beverly (Sophia Lillis). And local bully, mullet-sporting, white supremacist Henry (Nicholas Hamilton). Bill is still on a mission to find his little brother and his friends, including show-stealing Richie (Finn Wolfhard), are kind of willing to help him.
The self-dubbed Losers’ Club join up with Ben and Beverly and home-schooled Mike (Chosen Jacobs) and it emerges they have all seen the same creepy clown, as well as figures conjured from their own personal terror. They investigate. In many respects the film, which has a great sense of the time, feels like Seven Go Ghostbusting, but the clown (an unrecognisable but tremendously creepy Bill Skarsgard) and the idea of missing, scared children is intrinsically hideous. Too long, but very good, director Andres Muschietti has done a really nice job and the kids are great.