‘IT Chapter Two’ Footage Recap: Pennywise Torments the Losers’ Club at SDCC

     July 18, 2019

Get ready for a fresh batch of new nightmares, courtesy of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. New Line Cinema dedicated the entirety of their annual San Diego Comic-Con even ScareDiego to IT Chapter Two this year, bringing in filmmaker Andy Muschietti and castmembers James McAvoyJessica ChastainBill HaderJames RansoneJay RyanIsaiah Mustafa, and Andy Bean for a panel moderated by Conan O’Brien. They also trotted out four new glimpses at the film; the second trailer and three Comic-Con exclusive scenes.

The trailer premieres tomorrow, so we’ll let you discover that for yourself in the morning, but the footage is staying under lock and key right now (though the scene that played at CinemaCon ended up featuring heavily in the first trailer, so there is some hope you’ll get to set your eyes on a bit of these moments in the lead up to the September 6 theatrical release.) They asked repeatedly for the audience not to spoil the big moments, so we’ve kept the surprises intact, but if you want a taste of what audiences were shown, we’ve got two options for you: watch the video above for a totally spoiler-free reaction to the footage we saw or read the description below for a bit more detail.

The footage kicked off with a proper bang when Muschietti screened one of the book’s most iconic moments — the Losers’ Club reunion at the Chinese restaurant Jade of the Orient. Muschietti put together a killer ensemble for his first IT movie, and it seems he’s done it again. The adult Losers — Bill (McAvoy), Richie (Hader), Ben (Ryan), Mike (Mustafa), Eddie (Ransone), and Bev (Chastain) — settle into an easy chemistry, and it’s clear each actor has done their homework; you can practically see the faces of the younger characters jumping out because the new cast nails the mannerisms and speech patterns established by their younger counterparts in Chapter One.

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Image via Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema

Much of this sequence will be familiar to fans of the book, as the Losers drink, trade jabs, catch up, and begin to process how much of their childhood they forgot since they moved away from Derry. But digging up repressed trauma — a theme Muschietti says is crucial to the sequel —  is a tricky thing, and it’s not long before they start to remember what they wish they hadn’t. Things start getting creepy in a hurry. We didn’t get to see the scene play out to the end, but it’s clear that Muschietti has thrown some of his own spice into the mix here, including a sinister and chilling jab from Pennywise while hitting the familiar beats book fans will be waiting for.

The second clip focused in on Bill, exploiting his ongoing grief over the death of his younger brother Georgie in a pretty dang dark and disturbing way. This moment features heavily in tomorrow’s trailer, so I’ll be a bit more spoiler-heavy bit you should jump ahead now if you don’t want the deets. Set during the bright light of day, the sequence sees a panicked Bill running through a carnival when he spies a little boy going into a funhouse alone. Bill tries to follow the kid, but gets lost in the glass maze, while Pennywise flits in and out of frame behind him.

When he finally finds the kid, they’re separated by a thick wall of glass. There’s a sickening, long squeak and they look up to find Pennywise is on the boy’s other side, dragging an abnormally long tongue against the glass. That’s unnerving, but things go from bad to worse when Pennywise starts smashing his head against the glass, pancaking and distorting his skull. As the glass starts to break, Bill futilely starts pounding on the walls of his own glass cage, trying to save the kid, pleading with Pennywise to take him instead.

It’s an effective, visually impressive moment, and one that gets more upsetting as it sinks in that Pennywise is forcing Bill to relive his own worst personal fear all over again. After all, feeding on fear is Its whole thing and the fears of adults are a lot more disturbing than those of children. We don’t get to see quite how it ends, but we do see Pennywise’s big, sharp teeth — the same that ripped Georgie’s arm from his socket — jutting out in a way that teases a grim payoff.

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Image via Brooke Palmer/Warner Bros.

McAvoy and Muschietti spoke briefly about creating the scene, saying that the idea came up when McAvoy felt the film was missing a moment where Bill confronted his survivor’s guilt. According to McAvoy, Muschietti conceived of the new scene in about an hour, expanding on an existing carnival sequence. “It was brilliant to see that over tequila,” McAvoy joked. Unfortunately, it was “no fun’ to film the scene, which McAvoy described as “absolutely horrific.”

The third and final scene was the highlight of the evening; brutal, gruesome, and definitely not from Stephen King’s source material. The Losers make their way back to Niebolt Street, where the dilapidated house somehow still stands over the entrance to Pennywise’s lair. First, Bill tries to go in alone, but the rest of the Losers show up just in time, reminding them that they didn’t fight alone last time and they won’t this time. There’s a good bit of comedic back and forth that references the dialogue from the first film’s standout Niebolt sequence, but once they walk inside, Muschietti wastes no time getting to the action.

Immediately, they know horror is on the way (the molten black ooze dripping down the stairs is a dead giveaway) but the “oh shit” moment comes a little later. Remember that fridge from IT Chapter One? The one that opened to unleash a contorted Pennywise in his terrifying true reveal to the Losers? The fridge is back, but there’s a new surprise waiting inside. It feels wrong to give away too much about this one, but let’s just say it’s one hell of an homage to John Carpenter’s The Thing, right down to Bill Hader shouting “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me!”

Overall, the footage is a strong showing for the hugely-hyped sequel. It’s immediately obvious that Muschietti isn’t just relying on the same bag of tricks for his followup. The footage we saw here has a distinct approach to lighting and color from the first film, which, as Perri points out in the video recap, will be a helpful shorthand as Muschietti switches between the older and younger Losers. What’s more, it gives IT Chapter Two a feel that’s all its own; brighter and possibly even more brutal.

IT Chapter Two arrives in theaters on September 6. Stayed tuned for more on the film, including an interview with the Muschiettis, as the con continues and be sure to check back tomorrow for the trailer.

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