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What makes the It: Chapter 2 trailer so horrifying (even more than Chapter 1)

The scene of Beverly returning home will be familiar to fans of the miniseries, but the new trailer wrings every ounce of tension out of it.

What makes the It: Chapter 2 trailer so horrifying (even more than Chapter 1)

What: The first trailer for It: Chapter 2.

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Who: Returning director Andy Muschietti, writer Gary Dauberman, and new recruit Jessica Chastain.

Why we care: Few of us saw the 2017 It film coming. One of innumerable Stephen King projects in the works at the time, It was haunted by the departure of prestige director Cary Joji Fukunaga and a prolonged gestation period. While the trailer got people talking and early reviews were solid, nothing about the film screamed “most successful horror movie of all time.” That’s just how it shook out. Now, the forthcoming sequel is saddled with sky-high expectations. The new film is not only competing with the seminal 1990 miniseries version, it also has to compete with its beloved $700 million first half.

And everything about the first trailer for Chapter 2 indicates that the filmmakers are up to the challenge.

Smartly sticking with the format of the trailer for Chapter 1, our first look at the new It is mostly just one long, familiar scene. But the differences between this scene and its source material appears to be greater than the differences on display last time. When we saw poor, doomed Georgie merrily playing with his gutter sailboat, we knew where it was going, and felt the requisite dread, but there wasn’t much innovation on display. It was merely a taste of the tension the film promised to provide. Not this time.

The scene featured in the Chapter 2 trailer is one of the best executed scare pieces from the miniseries, and the update handily soars right over that high bar like a gazelle. It’s the scene where Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis in Chapter 1, Jessica Chastain here) returns to her former home in the town of Derry, and encounters the old woman who currently lives there–and who is not who she appears to be.

Here is the original scene, from the 1990 miniseries.

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Yikes! Imagine watching that on television in 1990 as a small child. (Or, if you’re me, remember when that happened.) As creepy as this scene is, what we’ve seen so far of the reboot improves on it in every single way. Since the trailer knows that we know this old woman is actually Pennywise the Dancing Clown, it doesn’t bother disguising it. Behind Bev’s back, we see the old woman morphing and scurrying around in a way that should get under your skin. Even though the trailer is edited at a more rapid clip than the four-minute original scene, it feels like it drags on longer, milking every imaginable ounce of tension out of the high tea Bev and Pennywise-in-disguise share together. The reveal is drawn out and presented in a new way compared to the original, and we only get a horrifying hint of where this scene is going. While the old woman aged into the decayed corpse of Bev’s father in the original, the trailer stops short of showing us what this Bev’s new horror will be–only that it involves the old woman being naked.

The trailer shows just enough to suggest the kind of deviations and liberties the new film will take, and to assure that viewers feel like they’re in good hands. (Good hands are the ones that give you mortal night terrors, right?)

It: Chapter 2 is in theaters from September 6.

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