Skip to Content

Here’s What Critics Are Saying About Stephen King’s ‘It’

The reviews are in for “It,” the horror film based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, and they’re generally favorable! The movie has an early Rotten Tomatoes score of 70%, further fueling expectations that it will be a box office success this weekend.

Some critics have even hailed the film as one of the best Stephen King movie adaptations to date. It wasn’t a hit with everyone, though.

Here’s what the critics had to say:

The New York Times

“The gang of misfit ’80s kids who face down the clown and the deeper horror he represents evoke both the middle school posse of the recent TV series ‘Stranger Things’ (there’s some overlap in the cast), but also the intrepid brotherhood from ‘Stand by Me,’ surely one of the all-time top five Stephen King movie adaptations”

Variety

“As spine-tingling as a number of individual scenes are, the film struggles to find a proper rhythm. Scene-to-scene transitions are static and disjointed, settling into a cycle of “…and then this happened” without deepening the overall dread or steadily uncovering pieces of a central mystery. Curiously, “It” grows less intense as it goes, handicapped by an inability to take in the scope of Derry as a town defined by its buried traumas and secrets, let alone really plumbing the primal depths of fear that It itself represents.”

Entertainment Weekly

“The more we see of him [Pennywise], the less scary he becomes. Unless you’re really afraid of clowns, he just seems kind of cartoony after a while…It doesn’t shy away from nastiness and definitely earns its R rating. There’s implied incest, bullying in the extreme, and children are violently attacked. But that raises the question: Who exactly is It for? Its heroes, like its audience, are kids. What responsible parent will buy their tickets?”

The Hollywood Reporter

“It is a solid thriller that works best when it is most involved in its adolescent heroes’ non-monster-related concerns. It will prove much more satisfying to King’s legion of fans than Tower did. But it falls well short of the King-derived film it clearly wants to evoke, Stand By Me; and newcomers who were spoiled by the eight richly developed hours of Stranger Things may wonder what the big deal is supposed to be.”

The Guardian

“The problem is that almost everything here looks like route one scary-movie stuff that we have seen before: scary clowns, scary old houses, scary bathrooms. In their differing ways, Brian De Palma and Stanley Kubrick were inspired by the potency of King’s source material to create something virulently distinctive and original. This film’s director, Andy Muschietti, can’t manage quite as much.”