It ticketstubAs horror movies go, It is pretty damned good. It has a setting in the late '80s, early '90s, so it hits that nostalgia bone for people around my age. It's about a demon (or something) that takes the form of a clown in order to feed on fear, and therefore, the movie is made up of terrifying scenarios. It has great effects and some satisfying jump-scares and just the right amount of reality. What I think makes this film extra scary, though, are not the horrible terrifying scenarios Pennywise puts the characters through to terrorize them, but the things the people of this town do to each other, largely in the form of abusive parents and sadistic bullies. These kids go through so much at home and at school and in-between, some of it breaks them, some of it makes them stronger (as something to fight back against). But honestly, those scenes, where people are being horrible to each other, is what caused me the most discomfort.

As a production, the movie is put together well, has a smooth escalating build to a finale, is filled with horror scenarios that, while fairly common themes in horror, are satisfying for what they are, and uses believable characters in the children that have clearly been through some shit and are flawed as a result, but overcome all that to become heroes (if unrecognized by the town). You really want to cheer for these characters and every time they stumble you feel that letdown, but you feel confident they will eventually get up and do what needs to be done. It works really well. And, by that I mean, It works really well. Note, this is a hard R rating. There is graphic violence and gore and tons of F-bombs and various forms of child abuse. I felt really uncomfortable about the 8 year olds sitting behind me in the theater.