Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
It Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Terrifying evil clown movie based on Stephen King classic.
  • R
  • 2017
  • 135 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 234 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 664 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Bullying is shown in different forms, from emotionally abusive parents to physically abusive teens -- and the ways the bullies are dealt with aren't always admirable. But the young teen characters show bravery in standing up against impossible odds, working together toward a common goal.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The characters are frequently troubled outcasts who are prone to iffy behavior or lying -- but they step up and are at their best when working as a team. The one female member of the group is shown to be as brave and strong as the boys, although she does require rescuing at one point.


Very scary stuff, with a flat-out terrifying clown. Lots of bullying. Children are in peril: A child's arm is bitten off, and a bully carves up a kid's stomach with a knife. A bully stabs a man with the same knife; lots of blood. A bathroom is covered in blood, and characters spend a scene cleaning it up. A sheep is killed with a bolt gun. Rock throwing, with injuries. Broken arm. Clown stabbed through the face. Bullies shoot guns, taking aim at a cat. Kicking, smashing in head with toilet tank lid. Kids beat the clown with many kinds of blunt objects. A father is abusive psychologically, and acts in a creepily sexual way toward his teen daughter, too.


There are rumors that a teen girl has slept with many guys. Rather clueless attempts at sex-related jokes by 13-year-olds who don't know exactly what they're talking about (but they use terms like "tickling your pickle," "period," "vagina," "birth control pills," "crabs," etc.). Teens go swimming in their underwear; the boys admire the girl.


Very strong language, much of it spoken by 13-year-olds, including "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "t-ts," "ass," "damn," "d--k," "f--got," "piss," "you suck," "my wang," plus "Jesus" (as an exclamation).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Many empty beer bottles near an adult's (an abusive father's) chair in one scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that It is based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, which was previously adapted into a 1990 TV miniseries. It's very scary, and not just in a typical gory slasher or jump scare way; it generates actual tingles. (And if you're scared of clowns, it's even worse.) Things get pretty gory; characters are stabbed, impaled, and beaten with rocks and blunt objects. A boy's arm is bitten off, teens shoot guns, and a sheep is killed with a bolt gun. Language is also very strong, with a lot of the swearing coming from young teens; you'll hear "f--k," "s--t," and more. There's lots of bullying, and an abusive father acts in a creepily sexual way toward his teen daughter. You can also expect to hear a fair bit of sex-related talk among the teen characters, though much of it is naïve and meant to be humorous. Teens will be eager to see this one, but it's not for sensitive viewers or the faint of heart.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBrock S. September 25, 2017

Awesome, interesting, and a great movie!

This is a great movie with very minimal scenes with any amount of blood. The only scene which might scare some younger viewers is the part were Georgie gets his... Continue reading
Parent Written bySammantha L. September 7, 2017
This is definitely the best Stephen King film adaptation so far. When SK himself approved of the film before I had the privilege of watching it, I was ecstatic... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byiLLusIoNz47 September 9, 2017

IT review - i'll try no major spoilers

Violence: 8/10: Okay, so in the first 15 minutes a kid gets his arm completely torn off while his blood flows down the water in the road (This part is one of... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old October 1, 2017

Not very scary, to be honest

To be honest, I don't really know why people seem to think It is scary. Yes, there are a few unexpected jumpscares, but there's nothing really over th... Continue reading

What's the story?

In IT, it's 1988 in the town of Derry, Maine, and little Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) goes outside in the rain to sail the toy boat that his older brother, Bill (Jaeden Lieberher), made for him. The boat goes down the drain. Looking into the sewer, Georgie encounters a scary clown called Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) and disappears. The following summer, as school lets out, Bill and the other town outcasts -- including pretty Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis) and loudmouth Richie Tozier (Finn Wolfhard) -- are beset by bullies. They start to experience terrifying events of their own and notice that other kids in town are disappearing. Thanks to their new friend, Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor), the teens discover that the waves of evil things seem to happen in cycles of 27 years and that all of it leads back to a well in the basement of a creepy old house. Bill vows to stop whatever it is that killed his brother.

Is it any good?

Based on Stephen King's 1986 novel, this terrifying clown movie builds its fright from fear itself. In that respect, it's more aligned with The Goonies, Stand by Me, and Stranger Things than it is with slasher movies or jump scares. Director Andy Muschietti, whose disappointing horror movie Mama never would have indicated anything as good as It, keeps things simple by focusing on the bond between the outcast kids -- there are plenty of scenes that could have been taken right out of any regular summertime coming-of-age movie -- and by using a slick combination of practical and digital effects.

The result feels like it could have come right out of the 1980s. Few of the familiar, overused cliches of recent horror movies are here, and with its effective use of music, editing, set design, choice of angles, and overall rhythms, It generates honest-to-goodness tingles, rather than quick shocks. And Pennywise is an iconic character, based not on a simple fear of death -- he's more than just a Freddy or a Jason -- but on something more primal and unexplainable, a thing of nightmares. This epic It promises that it's only Chapter One, with more terror to come.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about It's violence. What's the difference between the violence committed by bullies or abusive parents and violence by the movie's supernatural forces? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • How scary is the movie? Why? What scared you the most? What's the appeal of scary movies?

  • How are bullies depicted in the movie? Are there adult bullies as well as teen ones? How are they dealt with? Could there be other ways of dealing with them?

  • How does this movie compare to the book? To the miniseries?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horror

Themes & Topics

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