Adaptations of Stephen King novels have been ubiquitous in American pop culture for at least 30 years now, and if you’re even remotely familiar with the man’s massive body of work, you learn that a lot of the movies that spin out of it can be shrugged at. Sure, you get your classics like Misery and The Shawshank Redemption, but then you also get Maximum Overdrive. It’s a mixed bag of razorblade-laced Halloween candy.
IT is one of King’s longest novels, weighing in at more than 900 pages, and one of his most beloved among hardcore fans. It was also already adapted for the screen in the form of a 1990 miniseries starring Tim Curry that, while not a masterpiece, made enough kids wet their pants through clown nightmares that it’s still fondly remembered. So the new adaptation, a two-film attempt by Warner Bros. to take the primal horror of IT’s shapeshifting central monster and make it truly scary again, was naturally viewed with suspicion.
As a lifelong King devotee, let me tell you now: Get excited.
Above you’ll find the first trailer for the film, which follows a group of seven kids—the second film will take up the half of the story that follows them as adults—who band together over one terrifying summer as a creature disguised as a clown (Bill Skarsgard) stalks their small town, taking kids and adults alike into its terrifying grip and devouring them.
The clown looks creepy enough, but what makes this trailer so very promising are all the other little details. The opening scene, in which Bill Denborough (Jaeden Lieberher) makes a paper sailboat for his little brother, who then chases it out into the rain to his death, is perfect, right down to the paraffin wax Bill uses to seal the boat up. Ben Hanscom (Jeremy Ray Taylor) is haunted in the town library by a lone red balloon. Beverly Marsh (Sophia Lillis), the lone girl of the gang, is engulfed in blood while standing over a bathroom sink. These are details direct from King’s original vision, and they all work perfectly to create a sense of terror that will swallow you up by the end.
IT is a book about deeply personal horror. It may take many forms, but we all still get it from the same source, and we all fight back the same screams. This trailer gets that. Unless they stuffed all the good parts in the two minutes above, this film is going to rule.
Stephen King’s IT hits theaters September 8.