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‘IT: Chapter 2’ Teaser Trailer — A Shot-By-Shot Analysis

The ‘IT Chapter 2’ trailer promises a similar look and feel to the original with McAvoy, Chastain, and Hader headlining to lead the Losers Club.

The first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated horror sequel IT: Chapter 2 released this week, giving us our first glimpse into the world of Derry twenty-seven years after the events of the original. Coming on the heels of the massive box-office of its predecessor, the continuation of the remake of one of Stephen King’s most notorious horror stories promises a similar look and feel, while the story of the Losers Club expects to pick up where it left off, sometime after the kids defeated IT and went their separate ways (in true Stand By Me fashion). Now adults, the Losers Club reconvenes and must lean on each other one last time to defeat the returning evil. Watch for yourself:

Here’s what we noticed from the new trailer:

Beverly Comes Home

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We open with Beverley returning to the apartment she grew up in, and an elderly woman greeting her. Beverly notes how much cleaner the place feels since leaving her abusive father. She then searches her old room, where she finds the “January embers” postcard from Ben. The shot cuts to young Beverly coveting the same postcard, proving she still cherishes the words to this day. While this establishes a nostalgic feeling for Beverly, the mood quickly turns as the audience sees the elderly woman eerily standing at the end of the hall, only to walk into the kitchen in a manner all too familiar to that of everyone’s favorite dancing clown.

Tea Time

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Beverly and the woman — apparently named “Mrs. Kersh” — sit down to have tea. Although the mood shifts back to a calmer one for a brief period, there is clearly a hint of suspicion from Beverly. During their small talk, the elderly woman furthers the tension when she states that in Derry, “no one who dies here ever really dies,” and follows this up with a spine-chillingly long stare. The scene focuses on her face so uncomfortably long that one could believe the trailer had frozen. We can finally take a collective breath when the woman asks Beverly another question about how she feels about being back in in town, but the relief is quickly stymied when the camera pans to Mrs. Kersh fanning at her chest, revealing her rotting skin. Beverly attempts to leave, but Mrs. Kersh’s insistence forces her to stay. It is unclear if this Mrs. Kersh will play a role consequential to the plot, but so far it appears that she is just another one of Pennywise’s puppets, used to instill fear into the members of Losers Club.

Sinister History

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As Mrs. Kersh leaves for the kitchen, Beverly asks about the pictures on her walls. Mrs. Kersh specifically uses this time to talk about her immigrant father, but whether the tale is true or not is left to speculation. As Beverly analyzes a particular photograph of a man and a young girl, Kersh tells her that her father joined the circus. We can also see an out-of-focus “Mrs. Kersh”  — who appears to be naked — peeking around the corner as Beverly observes the photo.

The photograph reveals a man and a girl, who can be presumed to be his daughter, Mrs. Kersh, as she is still heard talking about her father. However, as the picture zooms in, Beverly finally realizes who she has been talking to the whole time. Pennywise’s face is grinning back at her, as if to signal his attack. Here the trend of seeing Pennywise’s face in old pictures continues from the first movie. Whether the man in the photograph truly is Pennywise or it is an illusion used by the clown to scare his victims, the implication is that Pennywise has been part of Derry’s history for a long time.

Beverly is Attacked

As the ruse falls and the music intensifies in true horror film fashion, Pennywise attacks as a naked Mrs. Kersh, running at Beverly with a loud growl. We don’t see Pennywise/Mrs. Kersh’s face, but it is easy to imagine what kind of hideous form he has taken based on what we have seen from his shape-shifting powers before.

The Losers Club

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At this point, the trailer launches into a more traditional trailer mode, with faster jump cuts and multiple scenes of the same subjects. The first thing we see is the members of the Losers Club together as adults — Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, Bill Hader as Richie, James McAvoy as Bill, Chastain again as Bev, and Jay Ryan as Ben. However, two of the members of the group are missing: Stan and Eddie. This could be because it is early into the film, and all of the characters have yet to convene, but there could be other reasons specific to Stan and Eddie’s characters choosing not to come. Meanwhile, the members of the group who are present seem to be staring into a downtown shop window, seeing their childhood reflections staring back at them. Although probably more symbolic that figurative, this indicates that the group will all have to work together to defeat Pennywise, similar to when they were kids. This also shows us that the kids themselves will likely play a vital role in the film, be it through flashback or through some other means of telling the story.

Still One Missing

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Richie (Hader) calls the meeting of the Losers Club to order as they all convene at a local Chinese restaurant. The group adds one more member with Eddie, but Stan is still nowhere in sight…

Georgie Haunts Bill

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Here we get our first solo shot of James McAvoy as Bill. As he stares into what looks to be the same gutter from which his kid brother Georgie was taken, we are presented with an ominous looking shot of ‘Georgie’ reaching out to his brother with the infamous sailboat still in hand. Although clearly a ploy by Pennywise to torture Bill, the shot itself is a particularly great one. The use of total darkness completely obscuring Georgie’s face is impressively haunting. It truly communicates that Bill is still wrestling with what happened to his brother up to the present day.

Return to the Sewers

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The Losers club inevitably ends up back in the sewers, where Pennywise lives. The final stand against Pennywise took place here, and the establishing shot of the sewer essentially sets the stage for the fight to come, while at the same time recalls the events from the previous film — namely, the environment in which lifeless children’s bodies were left floating in the pale soft light cast from above. Interestingly, this time there appears to be no bodies hanging in mid-air.

Richie Still Hates Clowns

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Another highly anticipated role being taken on by a recognizable face is Richie, played by Bill Hader. Here we see Richie staring in horror at the sight of Pennywise in a shot that is emphasized even greater with the use of frozen background elements to enhance the creep factor. Derry residents behind Richie remain frozen in time as he watches the demonic clown levitate over a Paul Bunyan Statue on a geometric collection of red balloons.

Pennywise

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The antagonist himself gets a couple back-to-back shots. The first reveals the clown’s gravity-defying tactics as he pops out of an unexpected location in order to taunt a young Mike. The second shot is interesting, because it focuses solely on Pennywise, with no other characters in frame. The old-timey setting of the environment leads me to believe that this could be a flashback to Pennywise from another time in history (note the kerosene lamp),  but this could also take place at the old abandoned house where the Losers Club first fought the clown. Either way, the scene is dominated primarily by Pennywise, who is for some reason peeling his clown makeup to reveal another form. Whether he is using this as a tactic to frighten a victim remains to be seen.

A Carnival!

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What better place to release a demonic clown’s reign of terror than on an unsuspecting carnival? Rather than establishing a new environment, there isn’t much else to say about this shot. However, Bill running at full speed through the carnival is a good indication that it could play a significant role in the story to come.

Bill x Bev

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The romantic subplot between Bill and Bev continues where it left off when they were kids. Of course, things are different now, namely that Bill has a wife. However, it is clear that IT: Chapter 2 will explore the connection between these two characters as the events of the main story play out. No doubt it will complicate things, but the relationship carrying over from the events of the first film rather than being thrown together in the second strictly to create conflict gives the story more context and makes it more believable.

Hello!

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After a few more shots of the Losers Club banding together in the sewer, the trailer finally end with a scene of a young girl wandering under some bleachers. She appears to be chasing a firefly when it is suddenly engulfed by two gloved hands. The hands, of course, belong to Pennywise, as he attempts to lure in the girl. After the hands disappear into the darkness, they immediately open to shine a nightmarish light onto the face of the clown. The use of lighting, directing, and performance of Bill Skarsgård transforms the simple utterance of the word “Hello!” into a terrifying and foreboding tone, which all but seals the fate of the young girl.

***

IT: Chapter 2 is sure to deliver a thrilling and horrific-filled ride, promising a similar look and feel to the original, along with brilliant camera-work and haunting sound design. IT: Chapter 2 is slated for release on September 6, 2019.

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