It Part 2: Older and Pennywise-r
Stephen King’s It, the second adaptation of the author’s iconic horror novel, is hitting theatres this Friday. Suffice to say, there has been plenty of hype surrounding this film from the horrifying trailers to the new and improved Pennywise with his creepy clown makeup (played by Bill Skarsgård). From the looks of things so far, it’s also a critical darling and is well on its way to being a bona fide commercial hit. With Part 2 already in development, and the poor reception the second part of this terrifying tale has received for decades now following the original TV movie, where should the inevitable sequel head next?
The TV movie sequel suffered from poor pacing and a lack of ideas towards the end. The filmmakers showed their hand in the first half when it came to shocking audiences. At that point in the mini-series, Tim Curry’s Pennywise became comic relief and there was a lack of intensity and wonder. For the latest iteration, there’s a serious worry if director Andy Muschietti will be able to top himself the second time around. Horror sequels are arguably the most difficult to pull off because managing to continually shock and scare audiences is a Herculean task.
Muschietti has already confirmed that Part 2 will still feature the children in some capacity, despite it being a story about how the adults deal with Pennywise decades later. The director wants the two timelines to inform each other, with the children influencing the adults via flashbacks in Part 2. This is a brilliant idea because It has a Stranger Things vibe going for it, an aspect of the film that has inevitably drawn more and more people into the movie. It’s also important because by the time the sequel rolls around people will have already connected with the younger cast more so than the older members.
With the inevitable success of the upcoming first part, Muschetti and the rest of the filmmakers will have a much bigger budget to play around with for Part 2. This money should be used towards creating the different disasters that hit the small Maine town of Derry. One example would be The Black Spot, a large fire that takes the lives of dozens of people (believed to be caused by Pennywise). Before Cary Fukunaga left the project, his original script for Part 1 actually featured The Black Spot but it had to be cut because of various budget reasons.
It’ll most likely be the opening to Part 2, which is a fantastic idea because the sequel needs to up the ante and reintroduce Pennywise in a big way. Another disaster that should be captured on film is the Kitchener Ironworks disaster, which killed nearly a hundred children and townspeople in the 1900s during an Easter egg hunt. Including these large-scale moments would be an excellent way to separate the two differents parts of the story.
But besides raising the stakes, the story this second time around should focus on the fact that the fears of the main characters never really went away despite the nearly three decades that have passed. Themes of never giving up and fighting off what scares you the most and stops you from being the best human being you can be, have to be rampant in this sequel. Muschietti can’t possibly hope to install the same levels of fear a second time in a row. So instead, he should focus on telling a more poignant story to wrap up this gruesome tale.