Stephen King’s disturbing 1986 novel screens as a two-parter directed by Andy Muschietti. This opening salvo focuses on the children whose lives are scarred by a malevolent presence called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard). In summer 1989, seven pre-teen victims of the bullying Bowers Gang form the Losers’ Club as a way of trying to survive. Their leader Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher) – whose younger brother (Jackson Robert Scott) is killed by Pennywise – vows revenge. But Pennywise knows the children’s darkest fears and preys upon their insecurities with lip-smacking glee.
Director Philippe Van Leeuw’s claustrophobic drama glimpses the conflict in Syria through the eyes of Oum Yazan (Hiam Abbass), who’s trying to keep her children and several other people safe in her apartment. When one of the group is shot by snipers, Oum Yazan tries to conceal this from her guests to avoid panic. Tensions escalate and, when two men break into the apartment, the mother and her family face their worst fears.