To say that this is one of the most anticipated trailers of the year in the horror community is an understatement. Stephen King’s IT is a masterpiece of world-building and home-grown terror, but also an enduring study of how the fears we hold in childhood never really go away as we grow up. Now with It: Chapter Two set to release this year, audiences wait eagerly for the final installment with their favorite characters. If you haven’t seen the new teaser trailer, go watch it now.
The trailer starts with the iconic scene of grownup Beverly Marsh (Jessica Chastain) returning to her childhood home where elderly Ms. Kursh (Deanna Dugan) now lives. It was one of the harrowing moments from the book but made particularly iconic (if unintentionally hilarious) in the 90s miniseries: Watch that scene here if you’re interested. There’s lots of nostalgia as Bev enters the home and finds the fateful poem: “Her hair is winter fire…”. The scene builds plenty of creepiness, from the flies on the window to the subtle distaste Bev has for the tea (what’s in it?). But there are additions that, for me as one of King’s Faithful Readers and a massive fan of this book, left me wanting. The acting is superb, the details perfect, but the scenes of Pennywise masquerading as Ms. Kersh jiggling in the background are unnecessary. Why is he twitching? Is he okay?
I know this is a trend in horror movies, but it’s a little jarring and kind of broke the tension (for me at least). In the book, Ms. Kersh does give off indications that all isn’t as it seems, indications that force Bev to see for what they are instead of what social pleasantries learned and maintained by adults would have her believe and endure. It’s not odd for Ms. Kersh to act strange, but it is odd for her to do so when Bev isn’t looking at her. The performance is for Bev, designed to scare her away from Derry, so why twitch and juggle in the foyer out of her line of sight? I worry the film will be like this: barely missing the mark on what made It: Chapter One special. Certainly, director Andy Muschietti has time to gauge audience reactions. Deanna Dunagan (The Visit) and Jessica Chastain’s (Crimson Peak) performance is on point in this scene. Just let their acting and the setting tell the story.
Beyond that, the trailer shows plenty of little details as the Losers’ Club returns to Derry to battle IT. So many great scenes fans are excited to see, from Georgie’s disembodied arms reaching out from a sewer to Bill and Beverly’s reunion.
The problem with the second half of IT is that the characters are adults, and that portion of both the book and the 90s miniseries has put off most past viewers. For some reason, executives assume it’s easier for us to accept childhood fears than adult ones, even though the world we live in is itself terrifying on so many levels. Right now, we face extinction via climate change, the whims of madmen whether in government power or at a local high school, and the terror of insufficient healthcare, high cost of living, and of course the return of measles. Here in America, we’re living in a time when our own sordid past has dredged itself up from the depth and slouches to our doors. We alone decide how we respond: Do we act, or do we accept this death? In this way, the now adult Losers’ Club faces a monstrosity as we all do, and we can only hope we have the same courage.
Hopefully Muschietti keeps the faith in his viewers that he had in Chapter One and maintains that level of questioning reality that we all must do these days. We don’t need the monster twitching in a corner to know it’s the monster – we face enough of them these days to know.