By Maria Lattila / @marialattila
Autumn is a season ripe for horror films, and this year it all kicks off with a bang.
After the huge success of It Chapter One, Andy Muschietti returns to the director’s chair to helm the new chapter of It, and to conclude the story of the terrifying clown Pennywise and The Losers Club.
Before we return to the sleepy town of Derry this September, let’s look back at the first film.
Chapter One centres on a group of kids, dubbed The Losers Club, who take on literal and figurative monsters.
Behind everything is Pennywise, an ancient being who feeds on children every 27 years in Derry. Pennywise is often seen in his preferred form of a clown, and is brilliantly played here by Swedish actor Bill Skarsgård.
It is based on Stephen King’s monstrously long novel, and was originally adapted as a TV miniseries in 1990, with Tim Curry playing Pennywise in an iconic performance. Muschietti’s Chapter One played homage to both the book and the miniseries, but felt wholly original and different to both.
Where Things Left Off
The first It is really the story of The Losers Club, and much time is devoted to the group’s internal dynamics, which is partly why the film was so popular and successful.
A good horror film isn’t just about the scares, but also about heart. The kids of the first film have talent in heaps, and made for a lovable and tough crew of misfits.
At the end of Chapter One, The Losers Club defeated Pennywise, who for the first time was feeling fear himself. Disappearing into thin air, Pennywise wasn’t gone forever and would return again in 27 years. The Losers Club made a vow to return to Derry if It returns.
It is expected that all members of The Losers Club went their own way after the events of Chapter One and continued their lives as normal, eventually forgetting about It.
A notable change from the book was the death of school bully Henry Bowers. However, it was reported in June that actor Teach Grant was set to play the adult Bowers. Is the terrifying bully alive after all?
What Can We Expect From Chapter Two?
Good news! Much of the first film’s charm depended on the chemistry between the children, and they’re all returning for Chapter Two.
Jaeden Martell, Finn Wolfhard, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chosen Jacobs and Wyatt Olef will all appear as The Losers Club in a narrative that focuses on both the child and adult iterations of the characters.
New to Derry are James McAvoy, Bill Hader, James Ransone, Jessica Chastain, Isaiah Mustafa and Jay Ryan as the club all grown up. It’s a packed cast, and the presence of Chastain and McAvoy might even generate some awards buzz, if the film is a critical hit.
Muschietti has one considerable challenge ahead of him; how do you pull of one of the most disturbing, yet absurd endings featured in a novel, and make it cinematic?
No spoilers here, but the original ending to King’s novel worked fabulously in writing, but may prove to be tough to adapt for the big screen. The 1990 miniseries did an admirable job, but even that had to cut some essential stuff from the book.
Author Stephen King was notably a fan of Chapter One, and has reportedly written a whole new scene for the film. The character of Bill, the shy and stuttering member of The Losers Club who grows up to be a frustrated writer, represents King himself.
A new scene featuring Bill would be a welcome addition, which might bring some more insight into not just the character, but King himself.
Chapter Two might also address the budding romance between Bill and Beverly, now played by McAvoy and Chastain as adults.
The two shared a tender kiss at the end of Chapter One, but Beverly left to live with her aunt in Portland. Chapter Two might give the pair the opportunity to pick things up where they left off, although their respective spouses might prove this difficult.
If bully Bowers is alive, who’s side will he be on? Muschietti has proven that he isn’t afraid to go against the grain and differ from the source material, so Bowers’ return and eventual fate remains to be seen.
Pennywise will have been dormant for 27 years, and we should expect to see some subtle changes to the character. Bill Skarsgård’s performance is one for the ages; a terrifyingly different version of Pennywise, which leans heavily into the terror rather than the laughs that Tim Curry’s performance went for.
Chapter Two’s Pennywise is promised to be a more feral version of the clown. As seen in the trailer for the film, we get to see Skarsgård with less makeup, laughing maniacally and probably scaring the bejesus out of The Losers Club. Trust Pennywise to creep into your nightmares come September!
Muschietti recently confirmed a scene in the film used up more blood than the elevator one in The Shining.
This would make It Chapter Two the record‐holder for the bloodiest scene in film history, so fellow gore‐hounds, get ready for a bloody good time!
It Chapter Two will hit UK cinemas 6th September.