But any worries about Skarsgård’s performance were soon swept aside when the film hit theaters in September 2017. Indeed, although It’s child protagonists would gain their fair share of praise, Pennywise was undoubtedly the star of the show. And Skarsgård’s twisted, intimidating characterization left many suitably spooked.
The critics were impressed with Skarsgård’s performance, too. Writing for Rolling Stone, Pete Travers would call Pennywise “spectacularly scary” and “the stuff of nightmares.” USA Today’s Brian Truitt was also thoroughly freaked out by the villain. “Bucktoothed and cartoon voiced, the clown burrows under the skin and just stays there,” he wrote.