Like the 1990 mini-series before it, the new adaptation of Stephen King’s It is split into two parts. This was a wise choice then and it’s a wise choice now, eliminating the need to try and shove over a thousand pages of novel into one film. It’s also convenient, given that the story takes place over two parallel time-lines – one in which a group of kids ward off the evil Pennywise the Dancing Clown, the other in which their adult counter-parts are drawn back together to kill him once and for all. And sure enough, the It currently in theaters is one based around a pre-teen Losers Club, all young and filled with vigor (and more than a few “Yo Momma” jokes”), and their struggle to defeat the evil entity that’s been kidnapping local kids.
One design choice that may catch some off guard is the inclusion of a ‘Chapter One’ for the film’s end-screen. Wisely, the press surrounding this has been keeping that it’s a two-parter on the down-low, which is good to avoid being presumptuous and to spoil anyone unfamiliar with the source material. Inevitably though, a few audience members may be confused as to why there’s going to be another chapter in the saga since these losers absolutely, definitely, totally killed Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
SPOILERS – the club failed, and if you’re at a loss as to what went down in the final act and where we’ll find them in Chapter Two, here’s all you need to know!
The connective tissue is based on one number – 27. During the movie, Ben discovers that the town of Derry has a bit of an issue with its children dying or disappearing. It’s six times the national average, with a growing number of disasters and incidents through-out the townstead’s history seeming to have caused some spikes. These catastrophes, he finds, happen every 27 years, and the current spat of kids vanishing into thin air is occurring on the button 27 years after the last wave (and in a spooky coincidence, this new production has also been released 27 years after the mini-series!)
This causes the other members of the Losers Club to own up about weird, horrific encounters they’ve been having. One sees his parents burning alive in a butcher shop, another a strange painting come alive and attack him. The common element is that each time, they saw a strange clown before or after, watching them. After some deliberation, they reach the conclusion that this circus freak has something to do with all the young people that Derry seems to eat up, and they investigate. Ben’s research leads to the realization all the disappearances have happened over a pipeline in Derry’s sewer system, the tunnels all converging on the Well House, a rundown squat on the outskirts of the town built over an old well.
With this revelation, Bill is convinced that he’ll finally get closure for his brother George’s disappearance in Well House, and the Club seek out the old building to face down Pennywise, and their analogous fears once and for all. In facing him under Well House, they see his lair and the horrors it holds. All the bodies of the missing children are literally floating among a pile of trash It has accumulated, their life energy consumed by the monstrosity. During the battle, Pennywise almost gets the better of Beverly, but her lack of fear protects her. Learning this, the losers make a stand against it, weakening it and sending it into a dark pit.
As you may have guessed, Pennywise isn’t of this Earth. It’s a creature from another world, and it has been here for an undetermined amount of time feeding on young humans. Using powers of shapeshifting and illusion, it draws in its victims before it sucks the life right out them through their fear, leaving only a hollow shell behind. For the lucky prey, it uses a direct approach, such as Patrick’s terrifying but swift capture at the hands of some ghoulish apparitions. For others, it stalks and manipulates their surroundings for sport first, like when Ben sees the red balloon in the backseat of the car that drives by as he’s being bullied, or Bev’s bloody sink incident. The only way to stop it as a human is to remain calm and not allow fear to control your mind or actions – not exactly easy when you’re a teenager and your worst fears are being materialized in front of you in a personalized climate of fear at the beck and call of a homicidal dancing clown.
Upon warding off Pennywise, the Losers convene to make a blood pact that if it ever returns, so would they. 27 years from then, when they’re as old as their parents, if kids start being consumed again, they’ll come back and they’ll find a way to finish what they started. Each begins to go their separate way, accepting that whatever happens in life, they’ll return to Derry, Maine if they want to.
That’s where Chapter Two will pick-up, finding each of the Losers as an adult, 27 years older and wiser. It’ll be sometime between 2016 and 2017, and the Club will be brought back together in the wake of Its need to feast again. They’ll have to if they want to finish it, because they’re the only ones who know enough to get the job done and nobody would believe them if they tried to explain. For now though, the children of Derry are safe – and little do they know they’ve got a bunch of losers to thank for that.
Next: IT Review
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