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Breaking Down the Trailer for IT

It: Chapter II Pennywise IT - Stephen King - Cary Fukunaga

After many, many months of speculation, the IT trailer is finally here. Response seems overwhelmingly positive so far and that’s great. Before it dropped, it didn’t feel like anyone wanted it to happen. Nobody was even willing to give it a chance. Every time I tried to suggest it could be good, it could surprise everyone, it just never went over well. People need to actually see something to be able to form an opinion on it one way or the other. When you don’t know how something’s going to be, the natural instinct is to hate it.

But now we’ve got a trailer and I’m glad people are—at the very least—willing to give IT a chance.

I made my hopes for this movie clear early on. I wanted something that captured the tone of the book. It’s impossible to truly, faithfully adapt that source material as one or even two or three feature films. But if it could tap into that dread and—most importantly—the friendship between the core seven characters, I’d be happy.

I also wanted to see things from the novel that didn’t make it into the first adaptation. There’s a whole lot of source material, after all, and many of the scariest elements were nowhere to be found in the miniseries. Some of that, mind you, was due to the fact that the book is often a work of extreme horror and the miniseries was made for network TV.

But let’s get into the trailer. And run down some of the major beats.

0:01 – Georgie’s paper boat

The first forty seconds of the trailer are devoted to the thing that everyone remembers best: young Georgie Denbrough and his paper boat that falls into a storm drain. People are complaining that this scene is too close to the miniseries, but it’s the inciting incident of the story. It sets up the main character’s motivation. There’s no way to adapt IT without showing us what happens to Bill’s little brother.

Stephen King's IT

0:50 – Derry

The overhead shot of the town of Derry might not seem like much, but it’s pretty impressive in how geographically similar it is to the way the town is described in the novel. The river has a big part to play in the book and it’s nice to see a focus on its presence in the town. This shot of Derry also looks authentically like Downeast Maine, and even bears a resemblance to Bangor, the city on which Derry is based.

IT trailer 0170:58 – Patrick Hocksetter  

Again, this is a shot that doesn’t seem like a big deal. While we’re getting the narration about Derry’s history of disappearances, we see a missing person’s poster for Patrick Hocksetter. This character was one of the scariest in the original book and was kept out of the 1990 miniseries. Hocksetter is part of the group of bullies that pick on the Losers’ Club, but he’s even scarier than main bully Henry Bowers.

Patrick is a young sociopath who killed his baby brother in the crib to essentially see if he’d feel anything, and he didn’t. He’s known for carrying around a collection of dead flies. But his secret hobby is killing neighborhood animals and stuffing them in an old refrigerator he found at the dump. Before his encounter with Pennywise, that is.

It trailer 20171:17 – The house on Neibolt Street

Relegated to a cameo in the original miniseries, the house on Neibolt Street is a major location in the original book. It’s the central location of some of the most intense sequences, including the first big showdown against It and Eddie’s encounter with the leper—who we already know will make an appearance in this film, played by Javier Botet.

It trailer 20171:24 – The slideshow

The scene with the projector is probably the one people are talking about the most. It’s not actually in the book or the first movie. But if I had to guess, I’d say that this scene is an update on the scene in which they see Pennywise in Mike’s scrapbook of the history of Derry. This sequence in the trailer not only gives us a creepy reveal of the clown, but a great shot of the Losers’ Club fully assembled.

It trailer 20171:56 – The Neibolt Street confrontation

As I mentioned before, in the novel, the group’s first big face-off against It took place in the house on Neibolt Street. If I had to guess, I’d say that’s what we’re looking at here. Also great to see Pennywise’s hand turning into a green claw, a callback to the original cover art of the book.

IT trailer 20171:58 – The Black Spot

For me, this just might be the most important shot of the trailer. It confirms one of the most gruesome aspects of the story that was kept out of the 1990 miniseries. This could be combined with Mike’s encounter at the Ironworks, but either way, this is definitely a callback to The Black Spot. In the book, The Black Spot was a local bar that was on the outskirts of town and was reserved for the minimal black community. A local chapter of the KKK locked the doors and burned the bar with everyone inside. Mike’s dad tells him the story, and in that shot, it looks like It is taking the form of all the people who were burned to death inside the bar.

Some people do escape the fire because a young army officer named Dick Halloran seems to know what’s going to happen before it does. This is the same Halloran who later in life runs the kitchen at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. That would be an amazing thing to see in the movie.

It trailer 20172:00 – Bev’s sink

This might be the most remake-y shot of the whole trailer. This is the scene in which Bev sees blood erupting from her bathroom sink. But here, it’s literally erupting. It’s exploding. That could make for a great moment, but it’s definitely following the mid-2000s remake guide of “Here’s that thing, but more.” Still a visually dynamic moment.

It trailer 20172:04 – Bill’s encounter with Georgie in the basement

This is a great scene to include not only because it’s chilling, but because it perfectly captures the way Pennywise appears to the kids in the novel. Other than when he kills Georgie, he never really tries to play nice with the kids or lure them away. He’s really just intent on scaring the hell out of them. More than that, though, the way Georgie starts out and then builds and builds and starts screaming before Pennywise just springs forth and lunges—it might seem extreme, but that is honestly one of the most accurate depictions on film of the way Stephen King writes a scare sequence.

It trailer 2017

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Written by Nat Brehmer
In addition to contributing to Wicked Horror, Nathaniel Brehmer has also written for Horror Bid, HorrorDomain, Dread Central, Bloody Disgusting, We Got This Covered, and more. He has also had fiction published in Sanitarium Magazine, Hello Horror, Bloodbond and more. He currently lives in Florida with his wife and his black cat, Poe.
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