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'It' Trailer Arrives (and Terrifies)
The trailer for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It just innocently floated into sight. That footage has a lot of parallels with the 1986 novel, so for those who aren't already curled up in the corner, let’s take a deep dive into the lair of that formless evil known as Pennywise … What could go wrong?
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A Paper Boat
We open with the famous scene that starts the book: little Georgie Denbrough (Jackson Robert Scott) floating his homemade paper boat down a rain-swollen gutter. Lying in wait in a nearby storm drain is a cheerful chap known as Pennywise, one of the shapes It likes to take right before it claims a victim. The fidelity to the novel is amazing. Director Andres Muschietti even got the street names right.
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From Page 12 of King's novel, when “Stuttering Bill” Denbrough helps finish waterproofing the paper boat, but doesn’t go out to sail it with his kid brother due to a cold:
George turned back to look at his brother
“Sure.” His brow creased a little. That was something Mom said, not your big brother. It was as strange as him giving Bill a kiss. “Sure I will.”
He went out. Bill never saw him again.
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A Peek at Pennywise
A glimpse of the monster, played by Bill Skarsgard. From the novel: “Want your boat, Georgie?” The clown smiled.
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To the Letter
Just a title card, but the font struck me. It’s the old-school, ominous lettering used on a lot of King’s early books – the kind Stranger Things adapted for its own logo. Now it returns full circle. Coincidentally, Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard plays the Losers club prankster Richie Tozier. (Beep! Beep!)
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Welcome to Derry
Overview of Derry, Maine. Looks like a nice place to grow up. If you make it that far.
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The Losers Club
Four of the Losers. From left, Finn Wolfhard as jokester extraordinaire Richie Tozier, whose clowning is a self-defense mechanism (against everything but actual clowns); Wyatt Olef as Boy Scout Stan Uris, the target of bullying because he’s one of the few Jewish kids in town; Bill Denbrough (Midnight Special’s Jaeden Lieberher), whose stuttering makes him a laughing stock; and Eddie Kasprak, (Jack Dylan Grazer), a boy with asthma whose mother makes him feel more fragile than he really is.
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Now the bullies: a group known as the Bowers Gang. Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton, from Captain Fantastic), and his two toadies: Victor Criss (Logan Thompson) and Belch Huggins (Jake Sim). Natural allies of Pennywise, they can also serve as a quick meal in a pinch.
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One of the missing local kids: Patrick Hockstetter (Owen Teague, Bloodline) . He was also one of the bullies in the Bowers gang. Perhaps his absence is why his old buddies looked so glum.
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Things in Derry are weird. Everybody knows they’re weird. Not just weird, but wrong. Somehow, they’ve normalized this. You get used to madness when you stop fighting it and just start living with it.
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That Red Balloon...
The lion-heart of the Losers is Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor), a heavyset kid who crushes hard on his classmate Bev Marsh. In the library, he writes her a haiku: “Your hair is winter fire / January embers / My heart burns there, too.” The balloon that only he can see shows he has a much more sinister secret admirer, as well.
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Nowhere to Hide
Pennywise is playing hide-and-seek.
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The full Losers club, united to search for clues about Pennywise in an old slide reel. That’s Bev to the right (played by Sophia Lillis), a girl suffers abuse and neglect at the hand of her single father, and Mike Hanlon in the back left (Chosen Jacobs), a boy who is tormented by racism in the town – and not only by the Bowers bullies.
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Something is in the frame as the projector starts to take on a mind of its own. Pennywise is manipulating their senses, playing another game. He sees them, even if they can't quite see him yet.
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A Terrifying Vision
Mike Hanlon suffers a terrifying vision from It: flashbacks to a long-ago fire that killed a group of soldiers at an African-American dance club known as The Black Spot. A local racist group set the blaze, but was their rage inspired by Pennywise – or merely feeding It?
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The House on Neibolt
Another setting straight out of King’s book: Stan Uris facing down The House on Neibolt Street. This crumbling home is built over one of the entryways to Derry’s vast sewer system – so it’s a port of entry for the shapeshifting creature.
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Not What It Seems
In his first solo exploration of the house, Stan encounters what he thinks is a vagrant – but it is actually a zombie-like leper preying on his fear of the disease. Another one of Pennywise’s forms.
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Showdown at the House
Eventually, the other Losers join Stan at the House on Neibolt Street for a showdown with It. He seems to be a little more prepared for the fight than they are.
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Yet another moment taken directly from the novel. Bev Marsh has an early encounter with It in her own bathroom. She hears the voices of the town's missing children rising up from the drain. But as she leans in, she is hit with a burst of blood. (It'll be scarlet red in the film. In promos, they have to blacken it for the sake of the MPAA ratings board.)
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Something in the Water
In his own basement, Bill Denbrough sees a vision of his little brother, urging him to come find him in the sewers, where they can all “float.” Little does he known, Pennywise is lurking just below the waterline.
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Oh s--t, oh s--t, oh s---t! Pennywise come whirling up out of the flooded basement like a helicopter blade.
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Send in the Clown
The final, split-second shot from the trailer: a callback to the slide show scene. The monster reveals itself. And it’s delighted to meet us. We'll be seeing a lot more of him as Stephen King's It heads to theaters on Sept. 8.