IT Movie Review

By Victoria Alexander, Film Critic

Pennywise was so deliciously creepy, I wanted to know more. Maybe Chapter 2 will flesh evil out. I want to know why.

I haven’t read Stephen King’s 1986, 1,184 page opus “IT”. So I cannot compare it to this film directed by Andy Muschietti. Adapted from just the first part of the novel – that epic length is a device King uses to get you dedicated to him for weeks – the landscape is now the 1980s and the kids are – for once – realistic in manner and especially language. It was absolutely refreshing. They used foul language!

These kids, who called themselves “The Losers’ Club”, are practically homeless orphans. There is Bill Denbrough (Jaeden Lieberher), who is awkward and stutters, bifocal-wearing Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard), Munchausen-by-proxy victim Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), responsible Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and smart, chubby Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor). They are soon joined by Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), the rumored school tramp, and another outsider,  an African-American youth named Mike (Chosen Jacobs).

IT begins with Bill making paper boat for his young brother Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott). Georgie goes outside in the pouring rain following the boats path. No one ever sees Georgie again.

Fast forward: its been eighteen months since little Georgie’s disappearance and Bill’s mother is nowhere to be seen and his father is furious he is still trying to find Georgie. Bill is facing some emotional problems – he stutters – and it seems he is taking care of himself without adult supervision.

Eddie’s mother is morbidly obese and keeps him supplied with prescription pills for his various diseases she has diagnosed. Eddie’s father is nowhere to be found and his mother doesn’t move from her lounge chair.

Chubby Ben is new to town and he’s short and fat. We don’t see his family, so he is basically living alone.

Stanley and Richie are also parentless and do whatever they want to do. So there is no need for kids disobeying their parents and getting into foolish and dangerous activities. No-one cares what these kids do.

When the son disobeyed his father and opened the gate in THE PURGE, I felt he and his family deserved whatever happened next.

Beverly has a sadistic, molester for a father (Stephen Bogaert) and no mother. Mike’s parents died in a fire and he is living with his angry grandfather who slaps him for not doing his share of the killing in the slaughterhouse.

The town’s bully, Henry (Nicholas Hamilton), along with his posse of two friends, beat up Ben. Henry, whose father is a cop, also has no parental guidance. When he carves his initial in Ben’s belly, there are no parents to take the kid to the hospital or the police station. Henry is acting out because his father is brutal, but in the hands of Muschietti, the character is really expressing his overt homosexual fears. I was sure Henry was going to make Ben “squeal like a pig”.  And his two buddies should have figured out Henry’s real problem.

Someone should have called Henry out.

Since Bill may be feeling guilty for letting his little brother run outside in the pouring rain, he intends to find out what happen to Georgie and the other kids who have gone missing.

The curfew doesn’t apply to The Losers.

As the Losers’ Club hunt the source of the killings, they meet the terribly frightening evil clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård). I kept thinking maybe Pennywise just was lonely and needed company. Freed from parental interference, the group decides to take on Pennywise at his lair. Their strategy? There is one Pennywise and seven of them.

The ending leaves some important acts by Beverly and Henry unresolved. But this is only the first chapter. The town’s evil – I hope its Pennywise 2.0 – comes back to town every 27 years.

What I found fascinating about IT is the director’s firm point of view. IT is mean-spirited and the feeling invades the entire movie. Even the sweet ending is creepy – in its own peculiar way. And, if Mr. Marsh met up with Pennywise in an MMA cage, Mr. Marsh would have a fighting chance. Muschietti intentionally dwelled on the barren home Beverly lives in, as if her father was in cahoots with Pennywise (or they shared an interior decorator).

As far as Pennywise – I think the character is more than merely terrifying, he has a cruel appeal that one cannot really make sense of.  I don’t think I will be able to remove the image of Pennywise from Bill Skarsgård.

There are far more Skarsgårds than Helmsworths.

As I have mentioned previously, the Boogeyman lived in the sub-basement of the house I grew up in. The Boogeyman was never seductive. Pennywise is. Just look at that beguiling, becking face.

Victoria Alexander

Member of Las Vegas Film Critics Society:

Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email at

For a complete list of Victoria Alexander’s movie reviews on
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4.00 avg. rating (84% score) - 1 vote

2 Responses to IT Movie Review

  1. If you want to know why you will have to read the Dark Tower novels. It’s all connected.

  2. FYI, Stanley’s father is the rabbi.

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