IT is currently certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a aggregate score of 88%. Below you'll find our official Popculture.com breakdown of the film, along with a few samples of what other critics are saying about it. IT is already enough of a success that the sequel chapter has already been greenlit for production, which will cover the second half of King's expansive novel, when the surviving characters have grown into adult and must once again confront Pennywise, 27 years after the events of this first film.
NOTE: To preserve the surprises of IT for viewers, all review snippets will be SPOILER-FREE.
As for our own take: Reviewer Kofi Outlaw had the following to say:
"In the end, IT is one of the best Stephen King adaptations out there, and is a great kick-off to the fall movie season. If you've been eagerly anticipating this one, it's well worth the trip to the theater, and you'll be eager for part 2 to begin, as soon as the credits on part 1 start to roll."
Read our Full IT review here.
New York Times reviewer A.O. Scott says:
"The new movie, a skillful blend of nostalgic sentiment and hair-raising effects, with the visual punch of big-screen digital hocus-pocus and the liberties of the R rating, still has the soothing charm of familiarity."
Reviewer Brian Truitt says: "The infamous clown is plenty freaky, though it's the youngsters, bursting with hormones and one-liners, who make It one of the better Stephen King adaptations."
As Chris Hashawatz observes:
"It is essentially two movies. The better by far (and it’s very good) is the one that feels like a darker Stand by Me — a nostalgic coming-of-age story about seven likable outcasts riding around on their bikes and facing their fears together."
Horror aficionado Brad Miska gives IT an official horror fan seal of approval:
"While IT isn’t a perfect movie it still achieves horror greatness on so many levels. The flick clearly follows the same beats as Elm Street and manages to deliver equal frights all of these years later. And for the first time in a long time, someone has a made a children’s horror film that feels dangerous, which is that nostalgic sweet spot that we’re all craving right now. A timeless horror gem worthy of repeat viewing, IT is an instant Halloween classic that will haunt audiences for years to come."
Andrew Barker is a bit more ambivalent, but still impressed:
"[Stephen] King fans will surely appreciate the clear effort and affection that went into this adaptation, even as it struggles to become more than the sum of its parts."
Scott Mendelson gave IT one of its lowest review scores, stating:
"It is an exercise in nostalgia, no better than Walt Disney’s disappointing Beauty and the Beast from earlier this year. Of course, that film made $1.2 billion worldwide and is the biggest grosser of the year here and abroad. So maybe audiences will be happy with an It that barely floats, often coasts and never soars."
Lindsey Bahr was also not a fan of the film, stating:
"Instead of building tension and suspense, It just jumps from scene to scares with no connection or coherence to thread them together other than the mere fact that they've been placed on top of one-another, like toys mixed up from different sets."
IT is now playing in theaters.