This weekend's big cinema release: IT


One of the year's most hyped films reviewed Discuss this article

© ITP Images

Word out of the more excitable corners of the internet is happily proclaiming the new IT to be The Greatest Stephen King Adaptation Ever. It’s not. It doesn’t hold a candle to the likes of Carrie, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone, Stand by Me or Misery.

Then again, it’s no Dreamcatcher either. Certainly it destroys completely the year’s other big-budget King adaptation, the crumbling nothing that turned out to be The Dark Tower.

Weirdly, the author, for all of his cinematic prose, has seen way more filmmakers come up short with it than make it fly. There are the ones that nearly achieved greatness (Frank Darabont’s The Mist, Tobe Hooper’s Salem’s Lot and Tim Curry’s IT TV series), but of the 97 – yes, 97! – movies, shows and sequels spun off from King’s novels, the vast majority are a shambles. Muschietti’s is unequivocably not that.

Unlike many directors who have fumbled before him, Muschietti understands his source. IT, which pits a bunch of smalltown kids against an evil demon who rises every 27 years to kill children, was always (as with much of King’s work) as much about the journey those kids go through as the scary clown who likes balloons and lives in the deep, dark sewers.

While he scores big with his young cast, Muschietti comes up wanting slightly on the sheer terror scale, despite Bill Skarsgård’s brilliantly creepy take on that iconic clown, Pennywise. Basically, if you’ve seen the trailer (and most of the planet appears to have done so) you’ll also have seen the majority of the scary bits. What will shock you most isn’t those, but the real heart pumping underneath.

The bottom line
Very good but not perfect. Bring on Chapter 2.

By Mark Dinning
Time Out Abu Dhabi,


  • Duration: 135
  • Released: Thu, 07 Sep
  • Language: English
  • Director: Andy Muschietti
  • Stars: Bill Skarsgård, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard

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