Of late the mainstream money-spinners in the horror genre have been films that are constructed like elaborate and intricate games of peekaboo, jolting the audience into a temporary shocked reaction, which in the end is unfulfilling and tiresome. In the midst of this wave: It is an engrossing and thoroughly unsettling picture that in its two hours and fifteen-minute running time makes the audience believe in the horror movie again. Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name: It depicts the banding together of seven pubescents against an ancient entity who terrorises their town every twenty-seven years.
In its darkest moments, the picture illustrates the thin line that exists between the terrors of the fantastical and mundane. There are many sequences where the characters undergo cruel and sadistic bullying, which is juxtaposed with nightmarish manifestations of the titular character. At the same time, the film is a breezy and carefree adventure that feels like it has the Amblin pictures from yesteryear ingrained within its heart and soul.
This dichotomy is emphasised well in the ascetics as sweeping and sumptuous long shots of Derry, Maine contrasts with shadowy close-ups of Pennywise The Clown, played with a commendable balance of horrifying malevolence and amusing physical springiness by Bill Skarsgård.