Australian Council on Children and the Media

It

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Not suitable under 15 due to horror themes, disturbing scenes and violence. Older viewers may also find the film disturbing

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for It
  • a review of It completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 3 October 2017.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 15 Not suitable due to horror themes, disturbing scenes and violence. Older viewers may also find the film disturbing.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: It
Classification: MA15+
Consumer advice lines: Strong horror themes and violence
Length 135 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

In 1988 in the town of Derry Maine, young Georgie Donbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) is outside playing in the rain sailing a paper boat given to him by his brother Bill (Jaden Lieberher) down street gutters flowing with rain water. When Georgie’s boat disappears down a sewer drain he encounters a clown, Pennywise( Bill Skarsgard) who offers the boat to Georgie, then transforms and bites off Georgie’s arm.  As Georgie crawls away he is dragged back into the sewer by an invisible force disappears and is never seen again.

Several months later it is the school summer break. Bill and his band of “loser outcasts” are ready for a fun and adventure filled summer, but all does not go well. They are repeatedly victimised by bullies who torment and terrorise them, the children of Derry begin to go missing and they all begin to experience strange and terrifying events. After some investigation the team discover that the disappearances are the result of an evil entity who wakes up every twenty seven years, steals the children of Derry over a one year period and then goes back to sleep. They also discover that the lair of the evil creature is in the sewers beneath the streets. Bill and his band of outcasts vow to go into the sewers and kill the evil entity.                

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Horror; the supernatural; an evil presence feeding on the fears of children

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

The film contains severe bullying, realistic and intense violence that is both graphic and gruesome including the multiple murders, mutilation and torture of young children and teens, parental sexual abuse, patricide, cannibalism, teens using and abusing handguns in a dangerous manner and parental child abuse involving a handgun. Examples include:

  • Bullying/ torture: in one scene a teenager and his two friends hold down a younger boy while one of the bullies take out a knife and carves his initial into the boys bare stomach; we see the knife cutting the flesh and blood pouring out. 
  • Graphically brutal violence involving the murder and mutilation of a child: an evil entity bites of the arm of a six-year-old. We see the boy’s severed and bloody arm stump as the child tries to crawl away in fear from the attacker.
  • Patricide: a teen boy stands next to his sleeping father holding a switchblade next to his father’s neck. The boy pushes a button and we see his father’s eyes open and blood begin to spurt out of his neck and flow over his clothes until and he dies. The son’s face is splattered with blood.
  • Cannibalism: a clown eats the bloody severed arm of a child
  • Sexual violence: A father asks his young teenage daughter if she is “his girl” and, when she says no, he leaps at her, pushing her to the ground and climbing on top of her as if intending rape. The daughter kicks the father in the groin and runs off. The father pursues his daughter and she smashes a jug over his head, killing him; a large pool of blood spreads across the floor.
  • Teens shooting handguns: A 16-year-old boy shoots cans off a wall with a handgun, then asks his friend to pick up a cat and hold it on the wall while he shoots it.    
  • A father terrorises his son by firing a handgun at his feet; the son covers his face with his hands and cowers. The father then demeans his son, calling him a “paper man”.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

The entire film is based upon the concept of an evil entity feeding on the fear of young children. As a result the film depicts intensely horrific and terrifying images from start to finish, to the point of the images being at time needlessly over the top. Some example include:

  • Featured throughout the film is a clown who transforms into a terrifying demonic creature with glowing eyes and a mouth full of very large sharp teeth. At one point the clown’s teeth grow so large that they protruded several inches from its mouth while on another occasion the clown’s head split open reveal a head full of sharp pointy teeth.
  • Throughout out the film we see images or zombie-like corpses graphically rotting and decaying with blood and gore covered faces, or faces that are all distorted or out of proportions containing three eyes etc.
  • In one scene there are hundreds of dead children’s bodies forming a mountain, with some bodies spinning freely suspended in the air.
  • A teenage girl sees tendrils of blood coming out of a bathroom sink and wrapping around her hand. Soon both of her hands and arms are bound in tendrils of blood. Blood then fountains up out of the sink to cover girl, walls and ceiling.
  • The film is creepy throughout with strange scary sounds, voices and lighting effects.

 

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this group would also be terrified by the film

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this group would also be terrified by the film

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Some viewers in this group are also likely to be disturbed by the film, particularly younger teens.

Product placement

Nothing of concern

Sexual references

The film contains a number of sexual references throughout, some crude.  Examples include:

  • One young teen boy talks to a second teen boy about how Jews have to have the top of their “dick” cut off.
  • After seeing a supernatural image, a young teen boy says, “Do you have to be a virgin to see this stuff? Is that why I’m not seeing it?”
  • A teen boy jests, “you guys are lucky you’re not measuring dicks”.
  • A father asks his daughter if she has been ‘unholy’ with boys and makes comments that she has been spending all her time with a group of boys and that she was the only girl in the group. 

Nudity and sexual activity

Examples include:

  • In one scene a father approaches his 12-year-old daughter reaches out with his hand and caresses his daughter’s face in a sensual manner. The father asks his daughter “Are you still my girl” as he caresses her throat in a sensual manner. The daughter goes into the bathroom breaks down crying, and then proceeds to cut off all her hair. 
  • A group of six boys and one girl stand in their underwear on top of a cliff about to jump into a pool below. A short time later we see the teen girl lying on her back in her underwear and see the six teen boys sitting nearby staring at her breasts.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • a teenage girl smokes a cigarette in a school toilet
  • several empty beer bottles sit next to a man asleep in a lounge chair

 

Coarse language

The film contain medium to strong coarse language, name calling and put downs throughout, most of which are used by teenagers.  Examples include:

  • Little shit; slut; holy shit; the word “fuck” used repeatedly throughout in a variety of ways and contexts, including  “mother fucker”; arsehole; dicks

In a nutshell

It is a horror movie based on a Stephen King book. In spite of the film featuring children and teenagers, and being widely publicised with images of a clown and red balloons, it is rightly rated MA15+, so is legally restricted. More information about this classification.

The film contains many violent and gruesome scenes that are likely to terrify children and even adult viewers. There are scenes of bullying, sexual abuse and children killing their parents.

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