A suspenseful (but not quite scary) movie that strongly adapts the first half of the classic Stephen King novel. I’ve never seen the miniseries adaption, so I can’t compare this film to that. However, many years ago I did read the book, and I do remember the gist of it. Unfortunately, this worked against my viewing enjoyment. There are many sequences that are suspenseful, but knowing the fate of each character, I never had much doubt about who would pull through and who wouldn’t. Especially later in the film, where there are multiple last second saves. The story is solid, but the pacing seems a bit off at times. The characters are likeable, but only a few times do they have any emotional moments. There is good chemistry between the leads, and their banter leads to all the film’s laughs. Bill Skarsgard’s portrayal of Pennywise was fine. There was a nice mix of comedy and terror from his antics, but it never became anything particularly memorable. While there was some extremely creepy imagery, the special effects were generally unconvincing. The finale, while not as abstract as the novel, still felt anticlimactic.
*** out of *****