Having given up on the endless sequel/remake train of horror, and nostalgia not on my side (no massive enthusiast of the IT miniseries despite Tim Curry), IT turned out to be very engaging.
The joviality the creature It takes in 'salting the meat' comes through in the film very well. There had been mixed receptions before I'd had chance to watch, including that it was extremely funny - which is true in parts. But it was an almost perfect balance of silliness, hysteria and eeriness. Pennywise dancing, for example (which is fast becoming a meme), was borderline slapstick but didn't dampen the overall sinister tone the film had.
Even if you're not familiar with the book, one thing that wasn't emphasised in the original miniseries was It's ability to change into different forms, and this reboot features several creepy incarnations of each character's fear from the Losers Club (one very reminiscent of the ghost in Guillermo del Toro's Mama). The amusement It takes through these other guises, and in Pennywise form helps heighten the character's overall fear factor compared to the original, and gives audiences a better sense of how powerful It is.
The graphic nature of the beginning was a little unnecessary in regards to Georgie, but for the remainder of the film the gore wasn't too bad and Muschietti did a great job of making you root for the character.
So the big question of is this portrayal of Pennywise better? I don't think is a comparison that needs to happen, or could even be easily made, particularly in regards to Tim Curry. The film as a whole, and as a first installment of the story was fantastic, and I am looking forward to Chapter 2. Pennywise, for me, was never a horror villain that particularly made an impression. Possibly due to the fact the character seems to be consistently present onscreen, which undermines its otherworldly nature. Objectively speaking, Skarsgard's had the advantages of CGI and better budget on its side (Pennywise's costume and make up are easily superior), along with the original miniseries to compare itself to and improve upon. But both are unique.
Overall, a fantastic reboot with great acting from everyone. Not exactly nightmare inducing for those of us with a tolerance to clowns, but I'd seriously recommend it. Bonus: the cinema we went to see IT in also gave us an awesome poster.
Have any of you lovely folks seen IT? What did you think of the film?