clock menu more-arrow no yes

The second look at Stephen King's It isn't trying to scare you. That’s why it’s so effective.

The new trailer doubles down on its classic King elements: kids, setting, and the power of imagination.

MTV

The first trailer for the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s It drew more views in a 24-hour period than any other movie trailer in history.

So the second trailer, which premiered Sunday during the MTV Movie Awards, has a lot riding on its shoulders.

Good news for It fans: In contrast to the jump-scare-courting first clip, this trailer seems to be steeped in King’s landscape of childhood fears and uncontrollable imagination — and it’s much more effective for it.

In our analysis of the first trailer, we discussed the difficulty of fitting King’s sprawling, character-driven story, and the suburban ’80s world of Derry, Maine, into the format of a typical modern horror trailer. The second trailer leans into that difficulty even more, balancing the more typical voiceover exposition and quick edits with a longer scene that shows our heroes, the Losers’ Club, journeying into the sewers of Derry to track down Pennywise, the shape-shifting clown who preys on children’s fears to lure them to their doom.

Though the scene’s dialogue is a little clunky, it unfolds in classic King fashion, mixing the intrinsic setting — kids exploring spooky places in the hot summer — with raunchy kid humor, all overlaid with a building sense of dread. It feels spot-on, in terms of both casting and its faithfulness to the spirit of King’s novel.

One of the things that makes King’s novels so familiar and beloved is that they allow kids to be kids in the middle of mounting horror, and after a first trailer that framed the film as a more conventional jump-scare-driven property, this scene feels like a much-needed return to the fundamentals. It also indicates that director Andrés Muschietti (Mama) has kept the kids of the Losers’ Club as the focus of his adaptation, rather than the upstaging Pennywise.

It is dripping with ’80s nostalgia, and the circular referencing of Stranger Things’ lovable group of misfits to Stephen King’s Losers gets a brain-breaking assist in the form of Finn Wolfhard, who shows up looking identical in both productions, like some kind of universe-hopping ur-geek. The second trailer also gives us a glimpse of Beverly Marsh’s (Sophia Lillis) induction into the group (and thankfully doesn’t go near the novel’s most controversial scene).

But of course, the biggest reveal, Bill Skarsgård’s Pennywise, gets saved for the end, and even though we saw him in the last trailer, it’s still a powerful moment, combining magical realism with a touch of the theatrical and the deranged.

In other words: This is exactly what fans came for, and it’s starting to look like It may actually deliver.

It arrives in theaters September 8, 2017.

Sign up for the newsletter The Weeds

Understand how policy impacts people. Delivered Fridays.