Helping to kick off San Diego Comic-Con, horror came home as audiences got a sneak peek at Andy Muschietti's IT. Reinventing Stephen King's 1986 novel of the same name, the first installment of the two-part saga promises to give us a whole new reason to be scared of clowns.
The first part of the coulrophobic horror adaptation is due for release this September, with IT Part 2 filming sometime next year (assuming the first movie isn't a complete box office bust - which seems quite unlikely). Centering around a town that is rocked by a spate of grisly child disappearances, IT revolves around a group of frightened friends (known as the Losers Club) who must face an ancient evil and confront their fears together.
While the footage reportedly won't be making its way online, EW was there to report on what we missed out on. Muschietti spoke to the audience about the legacy of the novel and said, "It’s a great moment to be alive. Because IT is coming back, after all this time." Alongside Muschietti, King was there in a video message to tell the packed Gaslamp District theater crowd at the screening that he is excited for IT to finally get the recognition it deserves:
“IT remains one of my personal works so I’m delighted it’s finally making it to the big screen. Enjoy this exclusive look… if you can.”
The author then let the footage do the talking for itself:
The first scene reveals six members of the Losers Club, hanging out on a sunny day in Derry. Included at the side of a deep quarry are Jaeden Lieberher's Bill Denbrough, Finn Wolfhard's Richie “Trashmouth” Tozier, Jack Dylan Grazer's Eddie Kaspbrak, Wyatt Oleff's Stan Uris, and Jeremy Ray Taylor's Ben Hanscom. The scene pays particular attention to a large letter "H" which has been branded onto Ben's stomach, which is presumably the work of local bully Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton).
As the boys prepare to jump into the water, Sophia Lillis' tomboy Bev Marsh arrives as the sixth member of the Losers Club. The kids make the leap into the water and try to forget their troubles as a group of outcasts. When drying off on the rocks, Ben pulls out a history project that he has been working on and looks at the shady history of the town. One of the kids asks why it is all murder and missing children, to which Ben replies:
“Derry’s not like any town I’ve ever been in before. They did a study once, and it turns out people die or disappear here at six times the national average.”
It is a chilling reminder of the disappearance of Bill's brother Georgie, but Ben says it gets worse as he promises to show them what else he has found.
Upping the horror from the previous reel, the second scene hones in on the seventh member of the downtrodden group of kids. This time we focus on Chosen Jacobs as Mike Hanlon, who as one of the only black people in the small town, faces more bullying than most - particularly at the hands of Henry.
As a trio of bullies pin Mike to the rocks, we get a chilling glimpse of Bill Skarsgard as the nightmare-inducing Pennywise. As Pennywise waves a hand at Mike, the camera zooms to reveal it isn't the clown's hand at all. Instead, we see the dismembered arm of a child that has been ripped off at the elbow. Dripping blood onto the floor, Pennywise has been nibbling at the elbow, with signs of fresh blood smeared around his haunting smile.
The evil from the bullies seems to have drawn Pennywise from his lair, but are things about to get worse for Mike? Just as Henry prepares to bring a rock down on Mike's skull, he is hit by a stone himself and we see the other six Losers standing on the banks of the water. After a barrage of rocks, the bullies are defeated and the newly-united Losers channel more Stand By Me vibes as they walk down the train tracks. The scene ends with a stuttering Bill turning to Mike:
“I guess that’s one th-th-th-thing we all have in common. Welcome to the Losers Club.”
The audience was then treated to an advanced preview of the movie's next trailer as one of the boys ominously narrates while we pan over Derry:
“When you’re a kid, you think the universe revolves around you. That you’ll always be protected and cared for. Then, one day, you realize that’s not true."
There is IT's typical imagery of red balloons bobbing throughout, as well as the iconic shot of Georgie tumbling down the storm drain and into the clutches of Pennywise. Down in the basement of the Denbrough house, we see a ghostly apparition pretending to be Georgie lurking in the family basement. The entity takes Georgie's voice and cheerfully says, “If you come with me, you’ll float, too."
Georgie echoes thousands of times over the trailer as we see Richie in a shadowy room full of clown dolls. The dolls turn their faces towards the Loser, but in the middle stands a particularly scary doll. We soon realize that this is Pennywise, who lifts his head and bares a set of razor-sharp teeth. Lunging at Richie, the screen goes black and the trailer ends - thankfully!
Taking over from Tim Curry in the 1990 TV movie, Skarsgard's portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown looks to amp up the horror from the original, while Muschietti is clearly aiming to make one of King's best-known books as scary as he possibly can. There is less than a week to go until the trailer officially drops, so we don't have long to wait until we get to see the horror of the murderous clown floating across our screens.
- IT (2017) release date: Sep 08, 2017