FILM REVIEW | It

If you’re afraid of clowns, seeing It is not going to help you kick your phobia.

The classic Stephen King story has finally made it to the big screen, following the two-part TV movie in 1990.

The film version follows the first half of the story, where a group of pre-teen kids in the quiet Maine town of Derry are terrorised by an evil clown being called Pennywise that only they can see.

Pennywise takes on the form of what each child fears the most to terrify them.

As much as it is a horror film, It is also a musing on friendship, family and the nature of fear.

The group of seven children at the centre of the story – Bill, Eddie, Richie, Ben, Stan, Mike and Beverly – are the foundation of It, and the story would fall apart and be nothing but cheap scares without them.

The child actors are incredible, especially Sophia Lillis as Beverly.

Their chemistry as a group of friends and their ease around one another is palpable.

Creepy: Bill Skarsgard will be scaring children for years to come in his terrifying role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It, which is in cinemas now and rated MA15+.

Creepy: Bill Skarsgard will be scaring children for years to come in his terrifying role as Pennywise the Dancing Clown in It, which is in cinemas now and rated MA15+.

The film asks a lot of them and all seven kids are up to the task.

Producing an equally riveting performance is Bill Skarsgard – brother of True Blood’s Alexander Skarsgard – as Pennywise.

Skarsgard faced the near-impossible task of recreating a character whose previous on-screen incarnation was loved and celebrated by so many people.

Tim Curry (Rocky Horror Picture Show) delivered one of the best horror performances in cinematic history with his portrayal of Pennywise in 1990 – big (clown) shoes for Skarsgard to fill.

But fill them he did.

The Swedish actor’s performance is quite different to Curry’s, menacing and playful in a different way, but it is equally effective.

His voice is enough to send shivers down spines as he calls out to the kids.

Director Andy Muschietti has done a fabulous job of breathing new life into an old tale. The jump-scares are genuine and the effects are top-notch.

The film easily outshines the 1990 TV movie, with the performances and effects eclipsing what was produced 27 years ago.

Fans of the two-parter should be pleased with the update while those coming to the story fresh will also be satisfied with their scares.

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