Based on the Stephen King novel: Seven bullied middle school students are terrorized by a dancing demon that assumes the appearance of a clown (Bill Skarsgård). Their stuttering leader (Jaeden Lieberher) persuades them to help avenge the murder of his little brother (Jackson Robert Scott), while also fighting off a gang of teen thugs. Also with Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Jack Dylan Grazer and Nicholas Hamilton. Directed by Andy Muschietti. A few lines of dialogue are spoken in Hebrew without translation. [2:15]
SEX/NUDITY 4 - A man smells and caresses his teen daughter's face and hair in their darkened house and squeezes her hand hard; she later finds that he has padlocked her into the house with him and he squeezes her hand and twists her arm, knocks her to the floor, lays on top of her, reaches for his trouser zipper and she kicks him hard in the groin twice to escape.
► A preteen boy kisses a teen girl and she kisses him back.
► A preteen boy asks another boy's mother if he should kiss her and she snorts. A young teen girl buys tampons at a drug store and flirts with an older man, telling him he looks like Clark Kent. Several preteen boys stare at a teenage girl, infatuated, and when she turns around, they avert their eyes. A teenage girl has a reputation as being promiscuous because she and a boy kissed in an elementary school play. A teenage girl tells a teen boy that only one boy ever kissed her and she did not kiss him back. A man accuses his teen daughter of "chasing boys" and that she is only "his girl" (incest implied). A teen girl writes "Loser" on a preteen boy's arm cast and he changes the S to a V to make "Lover."
► Four 12-year-old boys and a girl age 14 stand in their underwear on a cliff to dive into water; the boys wear only briefs and the girl wears a bra that shows cleavage, with underwear.
VIOLENCE/GORE 8 - The demon clown in the film is an ancient shape-shifter that takes the form of a medieval clown with faded red hair, glowing eyes, dirty ragged teeth, and cracked black and white makeup; the dirty white or gray clown suit looks like a medieval rag doll and his voice is wheedling, giggling and sing-song.
► Three closets in an old house are marked with bloody letters: "Not scary at all," "Scary," and "Very scary"; a boy opens the first door and we see half a girl's body hanging by its wrists and she screams (the waist is bloody and torn).
► A young boy plays in the rain with a paper boat, runs headlong into a sawhorse and bangs his head, falling into a puddle (no blood is seen) as the boat slips down a storm drain; the boy follows it, leans down to look and an evil slobbering clown appears in the opening and entices the boy to lean forward as the clown opens a slobbering mouth with five rows of sharp teeth, bites off the child's arm (he screams as blood spurts into the rain water in the street); the boy tries to crawl away, but the clown pulls him into the sewer, filling the street water with blood.
► A 14-year-old girl hides in a bathroom from her father who tried to rape her (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), and she hits him on the head with the toilet tank lid (no blood is seen right away, although we see him lying in a large pool of blood later). A teen boy receives a box in the mail containing his lost switchblade that he uses it to stab a sleeping man in the neck and blood gushes all over the man's armchair and chest after a struggle. A teen girl stabs a poker into the eye of an evil clown and through its head, which becomes misshapen and it staggers, dances backwards out of a door, and vanishes. A teen boy points a handgun at a cat held in place by his friend until the first boy's father (a police officer) appears, shouting at the boy; he takes the gun away and fires it three times around the boy's feet as the boy shudders and cries.
► A boy feels haunted by a cubist painting of a greenish woman hanging in a den; he replaces the painting when it falls, only to see that the woman in the painting is gone but when he turns around he sees the woman now alive as she charges the camera with five rows of bloody sharp teeth and disappears as the boy screams and runs away. A young boy looks at a burned out house and hears a whisper asking what he is looking for as a man appears with torn clothing, a limp, popping eyes, and rotting flesh and chases and then slobbers on the boy. A teen boy is startle by four decaying zombies as they chase him and charge toward the camera with grimy, rotting faces; the boy runs and is blocked by a cage door, we see his bloody face as he turns and sees an evil clown and the clown charges the camera with an open mouth of five rows of sharp teeth, laughing maniacally as the scene ends (the death of the teen implied). A young teen girl in her bathroom hears children's small voices and harsh whispering coming from the sink drain and when she looks in a gusher of blood shoots out of it, covering her and the entire inside of the bathroom as she screams and cries; she runs a metal measuring tape into the drain and pulls up blood soaked lengths of hair that grab her around the neck and head in several places, pull her in and then release her (she and others scrub the room later). A teen boy picks up a burning Easter Egg and finds a trail of other eggs; he is chased by a limping headless man with a smoldering neck and runs into an evil clown, who disappears. In a garage, preteens watch as a slide projector begins operating on its own, showing a woman transforming into an evil clown; the clown pushes through a window and roars at the kids with many sharp teeth showing and the kids run, screaming. A clown's face transforms into a man's face and a girl jams rebar down his throat as we see some black gore. A cubist image of a woman chews on the face of a boy, using several rows of sharp white and green teeth and when the creature backs away we see several bloody streaks on the boy's face, but no holes.
► Four preteen boys enter an abandoned house filled with leaves, cobwebs, debris and a rat that sits on a piano keyboard; one boy finds a "missing child" poster of himself and panics, a woman lies crying in a bedroom until something pulls her out of the frame as she screams, a door closes itself and a boy is trapped in a hallway where the floor falls away, and a hand grabs his shoulder and he turns to see a slobbering leper who had chased him previously; the boy falls through the hole to the floor (we see his arm broken at an unnatural angle and another boy sets it with a loud snap causing the injured boy to shout in pain), another boy is trapped in a room that is full of clown dolls from small to adult-size and disembodied voices laugh and lights flash, and bloody letters spell out "Found" on the inside of a coffin lid that opens by itself and we see a doll of the boy lying inside; an evil clown ejects from the coffin and the boy screams as the clown charges toward the camera, disappears, a boy pops out of a dirty mattress and vomits black gunk embedded with glowing embers, and the clown climbs out of an old refrigerator and grabs a boy; the clown laughs in the screaming boy's face, pretends to eat his arm, and then disappears through a doorway. A girl lying on a floor is awakened by drops of blood falling on her; she sees a stage door, which reads "Pennywise, Dancing Clown," and it opens to reveal an evil clown dancing against a background of a furnace-like fire; the clown jumps out and grabs the teen girl by the throat, opens his mouth wide to show 10 rows of sharp teeth and her eyes become milky as she goes into a trance and levitates above the floor. Two boys struggle with a sheep-killing gun and one boy fires in close-up, missing the other boy's head; one boy kicks the other boy away and down into a deep well where an evil clown appears, giggling.
► A shadowy figure appears in a doorway and bloody footprints appear on a floor leading into a dark cellar, while something short squeals and dashes across the screen in the kitchen; a boy follows the tracks and sees the ghost of his dead little brother in the cellar as it says, "Come with me and you'll float too," and an evil clown rises from the dark, bloody water, charges toward the boy, falls, and slides off-screen as the boy runs.
► A preteen boy takes a sheep-killing gun and stalks the ghost of a young boy with one arm, they argue and he shoots the ghost between the eyes, the ghost becomes an evil clown and convulses, and the boy shoots him in the head (we see a black hole and some black mist belch upwards from the hole); the clown rises and throws several youths against walls as they struggle, the clown chokes a boy and says he will let the others go if he can keep him and the youths surround the clown, beating him with baseball bats and lengths of rebar, his arms change to long bladed insect legs that stab the concrete, octopus legs shoot out of his mouth and tentacles pop out of his head as blood bubbles float from his mouth and he vomits a lot of black gunk all over the boys; he falls into a well, holds on to the rim, and a boy strikes his head with a rebar rod causing the head to pop open and black smoke erupts before the clown begins to crumble and fall to the well bottom.
► A teen boy points a bolt gun at the head of a sheep obscured by a pen wall and fires (the death of the sheep implied). A teen boy points a bolt gun between the eyes of a sheep and cannot pull the trigger until his grandfather snatches the weapon away and points it at the sheep, which is now off-screen, killing it. A teen boy rides his bike into the alley behind a slaughter house and he hallucinates a door opening and a dozen charred hands reaching out, while smoke and fire seep through the door as it opens to reveal a clown in the background, hanging from a meat hook and waving.
► A tall stand of debris and trash in a sewer includes about 100 missing and dead children floating around the top; the children float down from the structure later but we do not see what happens to them. A teen boy stomps on the head of another boy and blood appears on the victim's mouth as an evil clown waves a bloody dismembered arm at the teens from the bushes. A teen boy hits a younger boy on the head with a shovel, knocking him down with some blood on his forehead. Several middle school students start a rock throwing fight where several people are struck in the forehead with rocks and fall (we see one teen boy has a little blood on his forehead) as the younger kids run away. Four teenage bullies beat an overweight younger boy, slap his stomach, make kissing sounds with their mouths, belch, fart, and carve a bloody H into his belly before he manages to get free and dives over the rail of a bridge into leaves and dirt to escape; one teen chases him down a shallow stream as the younger boy's shirt becomes bloody; other boys later try to bandage the wound but one boy keeps insisting that another boy "suck the wound" (this does not happen). A teen boy uses a cigarette lighter and a can of spray paint to create a large flame that he holds near a younger boy, who screeches in fear. Girl bullies dump a bucket of dirty toilet bowl water on top of a girl hiding in a washroom stall. In several scenes, from four to seven middle school students walk through dirty sewer water filled with debris and in one scene, they find a bloated body and a head that is missing half its flesh, showing some bone. A clown in a sewer slobbers on a small child. Several teen boys drive past a younger teen boy, they stop and one boy tosses a cigarette butt at the younger one. A teen boy walks through dark sewers, creating a tall flame three times. A preteen boy finds a teen girl in a trance and kisses her, breaking the spell as she gasps loudly.
► Several preteen boys and a young teen girl arm themselves with flashlights, rusty iron fence spikes, and a sheep-killing bolt gun as they enter a house where they find a well in the basement that leads to large sewer pipes with dirty water when they climb down a rope.
► Several middle school students have small cuts and bruises on their faces. Several middle school students use a broken bottle to each cut a palm, and grimace (we see blood flow) as they hold hands in a circle and vow to destroy a killer clown if he appears in the future. Rain water drips from a ceiling onto a coloring page on a boy's bed, making red pencil run like blood.
► An evil clown tells a teen boy to "Kill everyone. A boy reads about tragedies involving the deaths of children. Grainy news clippings show body bags and mention young people disappearing. We read that a boy was found dead at age 15 and a girl disappeared at age 14. A teen boy tells friends that their town has six times the disappearances as the national average. We hear that a teenage boy's parents died in a fire. We hear that a missing girl is probably decayed and lying in a sewer (we never see her). Several teen boys argue. A preteen boy enters a room and sees bloody letters on a wall that read, "You die if you try." A man belittles his 12-year-old son for not memorizing enough Hebrew scripture. A woman lies to her preteen son, telling him that she is sick to keep him home several times (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A woman rudely tells her son's friends to stay away from him, calling a girl in the group a sexually suggestive name. A man and his young son yell at each other. A grandfather berates his teenage grandson, embarrassing him. A frightened group of preteens argue loudly. A teen girl blows pink bubble gum bubbles in close-up and is rude to a preteen boy.
PROFANITY 9 - About 40 F-words and its derivatives, 6 sexual references, 18 scatological terms, 8 anatomical terms, 9 mild obscenities, name-calling (crazy, insane, stupid, loser, slut, dirty little slut, little kid, paper man, crackhead, disgusting, queer, walking infection, Beaver-ly, Molly Ringwald), exclamations (shoot, shut-up), 9 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus, Holy [scatological term deleted]). [profanity glossary]
SUBSTANCE USE - A preteen boy has a table full of pill bottles and inhalers and uses the inhaler in two scenes, a pharmacy assistant sitting in front of several shelves full of pill bottles tells a preteen boy that all his medicines are placebos, a preteen boy confronts his mother and throws and breaks a pill bottle on the floor (accusing her of telling him that he is sick to keep him inside the house), and a preteen boy drops a pill box and scatters pills of different colors on pavement. A teen boy with a handgun shoots and breaks an empty whiskey bottle, and we see an unopened bottle of beer on a kitchen table. A teen girl smokes a cigarette in a washroom stall.
DISCUSSION TOPICS - Outcasts, bullies, demons, ghosts, shape-shifters, nightmares, phobias, incest, despair, murder, serial killers, death of children, child abuse and neglect, grieving parents, psychopathology, dread, fear, poverty, survival, working together, trust, sacrifice.
MESSAGE - Childhood fears can become real and sometimes adults do not care.