It was a surprise monster hit in 2017—it’s the highest-grossing horror film ever—and a sequel was immediately greenlit for 2019. Well, the teaser trailer for that sequel, It: Chapter 2, is here and all I have to say is: No thank you. All full up on horror over here. I’m good. Watch this teaser right now, and then come back and let’s talk about why it’s so good.
Once again, a two-minute trailer is not a “teaser”, but words have no meaning anymore, and I give up. Other than that, this is an EXCELLENT first look at It: Chapter 2. It gives us almost a whole ass scene from the movie, which effectively sets the tone for the movie. And it makes a very smart choice by centering on Beverly—played by Sophia Lillis as a kid and Jessica Chastain as an adult—who was a standout in the first movie, and also the secret protagonist. By centering this first look on Beverly, it feels like someone has realized that Beverly > Anyone else in the Losers Club.
Also, this is just a goddamn scary scene. And there are no obnoxious bangs and clangs to punctuate when we’re supposed to be scared! The scene just unwinds at a normal pace and gets scarier as it goes on and Beverly begins to see odd things in the apartment, and we see the old lady demon-creeping around in the background. It also plays off the very human fear of aging and death. There are plenty of jokes about how old people are creepy, but what we instinctively fear is the inevitable decay of our bodies – the prelude to death. This scene plays directly into that, which is another element of the first movie that worked really well. Sure, Pennywise is creepy, but the real scares in It all revolved around the behind-closed-doors realities of the kids’ lives (a concept the movie didn’t quite take far enough).
Beverly, in her prime, is back in her childhood apartment, the place where she was first made afraid, confronting an old woman whose body is decayed, and who might as well be Beverly in another forty years. It’s a kind of time warp that lines up Beverly’s two greatest fears: the fear of her father, and the fear of her own mortality and the weakness it implies. This is such a good scene, I actually got mad when it ended and cut to all the stupid boys. The adult cast is really good—Chastain, Bill Hader, James McAvoy (will he snot everywhere?!), Isaiah Mustafa, and Bill Skarsgard is back as the Pennywise everyone wants to f-ck— but no amount of McAvoy or Pennywise is going to top Beverly confronting both of her deepest fears at once. It’s just so perfect, the lady being weird in the background, Beverly’s mounting tension, THE CIRCUS PHOTO. It is a horror story that has always done The Most, but it is also the horror story that knows best the singular truth of human existence: Clowns are f-cking scary and no one likes them.