Stephen King's It is a perfect union of pubescent pangs and metaphorical horror that's best represented by Pennywise the Dancing Clown. The experiences of the Losers' Club is as relevant now as they were back then, as audiences of all ages can connect with these kids and their growing pains and other issues. And now with the new films, people just can't get enough of Pennywise and his long-term nemeses.
Following the release of It: Chapter 2, fans itch for something similar in concept to tide them over. Luckily, there's a plethora of youth related movies that fit the bill to some degree. So, here are ten coming-of-age movies to watch if you liked It: Chapter 2.
10 Girl Asleep (2015)
Greta feels like the world is ending because she's turning fifteen-years old soon. The idea of leaving her childhood behind absolutely terrifies her. But during her birthday party, Greta becomes disconnected, so much so that she slips into a parallel world. It's in that strange and daunting place that Greta must now find herself. Will she finally come to terms with adolescence, or will Greta remain lost in her own nostalgia?
This Australian drama is rooted in surreal fantasy. Rosemary Myers' adaptation of Matthew Whittet's play of the same name perfectly captures children's fear of growing up.
9 Found (2012)
12-year old Marty is a good kid. He's doing well in school and he's obedient. However, that changes when he stumbles upon a suspicious bowling bag in his older brother Steve's room. In it is the severed head of a woman. And this isn't the first one. Marty agrees to keep this a secret, but doing so puts everyone — including himself — in danger.
Found is immensely disturbing. This indie, low-budget horror creeps under your skin in small increments before all-out scaring you. It tackles real-life topics like psychopathy as well as the lengths kids go to to idolize a sibling.
8 Mean Creek (2004)
George (Josh Peck) has been bullying his classmate Sam. When Sam's older brother Rocky learns about this, he and his friends come up with a plan. Under the guise of a boating trip on the river, Sam and his brother look to humiliate George. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned. Sam and everyone involved makes a series of bad decisions that will forever haunt them.
The Losers' Club no doubt reminds people of the main characters in Stephen King's Stand by Me. Mean Creek faintly resembles both groups but with one glaring difference: these kids are the real monsters.
7 The Hole (2009)
A single mother and her two sons move from Brooklyn to a small Midwestern town. Dane and his younger brother Lucas then discover something unusual in their new basement: a door over what appears to be a bottomless hole. Soon, a malevolent force from the hole gives shape to everyone's deepest fears.
With this low stakes offering, Gremlins director Joe Dante makes a go at pubescent horror. The Hole isn't ambitious or remarkable enough to stand out in Dante's impressive filmography, yet it's a diverting coming-of-age fantasy with a favorable nod to the era that made Dante famous.
6 Boarding School (2018)
When Jacob's parents find their 13-year old son wearing his dead grandmother's dress, they send him away to a boarding school in the woods. His class is very small, and it consists of other youths deemed unfit for mainstream society. Eventually, the school is plagued by death and other bizarre incidents.
Boarding School dispenses underage, psychological horror in measured amounts. It banks on atmosphere and absorbing characterizations. There's a lot to unpack in this movie theme wise, but rather than spoon-feeding us, director Boaz Yakin favors intrigue. He shows how the maladjusted can be more than what makes them different.
5 Sleepers (1996)
Starting in Hell's Kitchen in the mid-1960s, four childhood friends accidentally kill a man. They're subsequently sentenced to a youth detention center for one year. While there, each boy is systematically assaulted by several guards. Now all grown up, two of the victims take revenge on one of their abusers. It's up to their friend — another victim (Brad Pitt) — to keep them out of prison.
Sleepers isn't a Stephen King story, but it feels and plays out like one. It's a procedural crime drama that forces someone to question their own ethics if they were in the same situation.
4 The Wraith (1986)
A young street racer's life ends when his rival stabs him to death. His killer was never caught, though. Later, a new guy shows up in town just as a phantom racer appears. The mysterious spirit has come to correct a past injustice. And he won't stop until his vengeance is carried out.
The Wraith was critically panned in 1986, but it has since developed a cult following. Aside from its eager and inane plot, the movie's predominantly rock soundtrack is easy on the ears. This is a truly cheesy, action oriented ghost story that perfectly captures the eighties.
3 I Am Not a Serial Killer (2016)
John is diagnosed with sociopathy, and he and his mother are doing whatever they can to keep him under control. In the meantime, John witnesses a local elderly man killing someone. What makes this even stranger is how he did it because the killer, Crowley, isn't entirely human.
Based on Dan Wells' 2009 novel of the same name, I Am Not a Serial Killer is a very different kind of coming-of-age tale. For starters, the protagonist's substantial struggles are unlike those of the average movie teen. The supernatural angle is unexpected, but it supplements an already interesting character study.
2 The Monster Squad (1987)
A group of young monster fanatics stumble upon a sinister plan hatched by none other than Dracula himself. The ancient vampire has come to town, pursuing a magic amulet that could place the world under his thrall. To help him out, Dracula calls upon some old friends. It's now up to those kids to stop them, or the world will belong to monsters.
It might not be easy to get into The Monster Squad if you didn't grow up with the movie. Its charm isn't totally timeless after all. This family-friendly comedy has some heart to it, though.
1 Super Dark Times (2017)
When four friends —Charlie, Daryl, Josh, and Zach — play with a sword one day, tensions flare. What follows is a terrible accident that ends with one of the boys dying. Instead of reporting it, the three other teens leave the body behind. The incredible guilt drives them all to act peculiar, especially Josh. He hasn't been himself since that fateful day... and someone else is bound to get hurt.
Stephen King's It showed us friends who stick together no matter what, whereas the events of Super Dark Times are what happens when friendship falls apart under awful circumstances.