It ★★★★

Quite a surprise - I thought I'd heard that this was sort of trashy and uneven when it came out, but it's actually very well made. The kids are simply excellent, the setting feels right, and the bad guy is funny, intimidating, and looks awesome. (I wanted to spend more time with the scary clown!)

I guess I never heard that it did $700MM globally and that still surprises me. There is nothing especially transcendent about the themes, scares, performances, nor anything particularly universal (or especially palatable?) that would draw a massive crowd, I wouldn't think. I keep turning that over in my head - how is this the Titanic of horror films?

Anyway, the knocks against the film are pretty much exclusive to the script. Pacing is a little weird and a little redundant at times, and the bullying subplot just seems like it's along for the ride. The parents were weirdly overwritten and underplayed and you almost feel like the film would work better without them.