Directed by Andy Muschietti

LOS ANGELES — It has been 27 years since a deranged killer clown terrorized a town on the small screen in It and ushered in a generation’s fear of clowns. Now, Stephen King’s Pennywise the child-eating clown is back, with bloodier teeth and a fresh set of victims.

It is the long-awaited movie version of King’s 1986 horror novel, rated “R” for gritty thrills, gory deaths and a Loser’s Club — the group of hero teenagers — not shy about cursing and making crude comments.

“There was still the feeling that It had not been faithfully adapted in all its glory and it’s been 27 seven years since 1990. So it’s about time,” director Andy Muschietti said.

Pennywise, first played by Tim Curry in 1990’s It television miniseries, preyed on the innocent and poisoned the sense of security of a small town.

It was part of a spate of 1980s films that made a phobia of clowns, known as coulrophobia, part of the zeitgeist and a horror movie staple.

Setting the new film in the late 1980s was a personal decision for Muschietti, who threw in a bevy of 1980s nostalgia with music and pop culture references for his cast of smart-mouthed teenagers.

“It’s also a time of your life where you basically stop being a child and… become being an adult, which is exactly precisely what happens to the Losers,” Muschietti added.

It begins with a very vivid homage to the 1990 miniseries as little Georgie Denbrough, clad in a yellow raincoat, chases a paper boat down the rain-soaked streets of the fictional suburban town of Derry, Maine, right to a storm drain.

There Pennywise, a supernatural demon clown, lurks underground and lures Georgie to a gory fate that kicks off a chain of deaths for the town’s teenagers and strange visions among the seven members of the Loser’s Club.

It scared so many people in the ’80s,” said actress Sophia Lillis, who plays Beverly, the sole girl in the Loser’s Club.

“Their childhood was based off of It … so it has this big fan base around it but I think the basis is nostalgia.” — Reuters

IT, the latest take on the Stephen King horror story about an evil demonic clown named Pennywise, whose history of murder and violence dates back for centuries, and a group of children who find themselves fighting it amidst adult indifference, has been very popular with the critics on the review aggregate site which gave the film a 90% rating. The film stars Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise, and Jaeden Lieberher, Bill Denbrough, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, and Finn Wolfhard.

Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote, “When a film of this magnitude has so many young characters front and center in the lead roles, so much depends on the casting — and in this case, there’s not a single misstep,” and gave the film a full four star rating.

Brian Truitt of USA Today concurs, “The infamous clown is plenty freaky, though it’s the youngsters, bursting with hormones and one-liners, who make It one of the better Stephen King adaptations.”

MTRCB Rating: R-13