Movie Review: It's back - and it's terrifyingly good
About 15 minutes into the new It, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.
I watched the 1990 TV movie a number of times, thanks to reruns, and read the book during my secondary school Stephen King phase, but the new It still shook me.
In It, the creepy, drooly clown of your childhood nightmares pops up early, quickly and often, always in full teeth-baring glory.
Unlike recent horror movies which defer to the Jaws rule of the slow, agonising build up to towards the first glimpse of the monster.
Classic scenes - It's first appearance in the drain returning a paper boat to an unwitting child, that moment in the bathroom when children's voices float up from the sink - were familiar but writ terrifyingly new.
Bill Skarsgard's red balloon-toting clown builds on the original immortalised by Tim Curry - it is influenced heavily by CGI-heavy Asian ghosts, but Skarsgard's close-up performance is what will really have you looking over your shoulder after a midnight screening.
But like a great rollercoaster ride, the terror always cuts quickly to giggles and outright laughs.
That's in no small part thanks to the story's adorkable teen heroes.
With the summer ahead of them, the schoolboys itch for adventure, but are swayed by unofficial group leader Bill to help find his younger brother Georgie who disappeared the year before.
They get an adventure alright (minor spoilers ahead) - the search for Georgie leads to the discovery of a shoe belonging to another schoolmate, one of many who've disappeared in their strange town of Derry over the course of a year.
Meanwhile, the town's resident older teen bullies are looking for blood sport, and the school's younger teens find themselves in their cross hairs. A couple of these random kids get "rescued" by Bill and his friends.
This unlikely group of stuttering, chubby, inhaler-toting, foul-mouthed heroes then have individual encounters with It itself or other equally creepy manifestations.
Jaeden Lieberher (Bill) and Sophia Lillis (Beverly) are particularly watchable - he as the unwavering do-gooder, she as the source of all the boys' steamier daydreams - but you'll fall for most if not all of the others.
The movie's set-up will be familiar to fans of Stranger Things, which itself was inspired by King's original. In fact, Finn Wolfhard, who played Mike on the Netflix series, pops up as snarky cynic Richie.
Whether you're acquainted with the King novel or 90s movie, or new to the It mythology, this new version will leave you breathless - and probably sleepless, too.
STARRING: Bill Skarsgard, Jaeden Lieberher, Finn Wolfhard, Sophia Lillis
DIRECTOR: Andy Muschietti
THE SKINNY: A group of eccentric, wisecracking teens set out to investigate a series of disappearances in their town - only to encounter a horrifying clown who literally feeds on their individual fears.