There are few things more beautiful than a well-crafted movie preview.
For that two minutes and thirty seconds we’re getting the absolute best parts of the film, slickly presented, and any lulls in the plot or holes in the story are simply glossed over. Movie previews are the high-angle, airbrushed, selfies of movies. They are the Instagram posts that make it look like that dude you used to know in high school is living the italicized most or that the girl you knew in college is constantly jet-setting around the globe to sun-drenched beach chairs.
The reality is that, even though we all know it’s a lot of smoke, mirrors, and — more often than not, lately — a bunch of smash cuts to people running while there’s that weird “wannnnnnggggghhhhhh” bass-packed noise that’s super unnerving playing in the background, we still love a good preview.
All of this was encapsulated perfectly in yesterday’s release of the first trailer for the terrifying clown-horror movie, It.
Here’s a look at the 2:33 second masterclass in how to officially freak the internet the hell out:
…and that’s why I went and bought stock in an adult diaper company yesterday.
So let’s break down the pieces of this latest atom-bomb of a trailer that just detonated on our social media timelines.
You probably noticed that this is the trailer for It.
a movie that we can only presume is about the dangers of over-dependence on technology in our lives and the repercussions of surveillance through those means of communication, starring an exhausted-looking Pierce Brosnan. That’s a good thing. James Bond would definitely have just used a dart from his Product-Placement-watch to kill Pennywise the clown in the first 30 seconds of this trailer and spoiler-alerted the entire thing.
If you did click on this trailer, it means that you are amongst the millions of weirdos out there that thoroughly enjoy a pants-poopingly good scare.
It’s a beautiful thing, being scared in a self-controlled environment. A good horror movie is a lot like those indoor sky-diving businesses where you strap on a dopey windsuit and get to float 4 feet above the ground while feeling like you’re plummeting 10,000 feet out the side of an airplane. All the pulse-pounding, adrenal-gland-frappe, none of the risk.
Lately, I’ve become hyper-cognizant of the fact that we need more good horror, whether it be movies or writing. Things have gotten so real-world scary, our closets so packed with actual monsters that we need something terrifying and scary that we can then turn off or walk out of and know that it won’t hurt us. That we are entirely in control of it. There’s enough spooky shit going on in the real world, so some made-up, 100% distilled imaginary terror is just what we need.
In short, we need Stephen King to distract us from Steve King.
Now, let me slide away my digitized soap box and let’s take a look.
Immediately upon the beginning of the trailer we are greeted by some adorable kids in retro gear and with toys instead of smart phones strewn about their room. Stranger Things chic is real and powerful and somehow makes these kids seem more innocent than their modern counterparts. More isolated. Certainly less cynical. You can pick all of this up just by their haircuts and clothes. (*Author’s note: or, they could be kids living in Brooklyn.)
One of the things I’ll be interested to see is if/when they do set the time period of the movie. Based on Stephen King’s novel from 1986, his story was set in multiple times, told from a variety of narrative viewpoints
The adorable little kid is alone and running through the water in his street in his equally adorable rain poncho. All of my parental alarm bells are going off. We’re 21 seconds in and I’ve turned into a human siren emoji. He smacks his head on a Derry Public Works road block and gets dropped, losing track of his little boat.
Sidenote: this is the most screen time for a yellow slicker since we were being treated to the raw, powerful story of Last Action Hero, with this guy playing a villain that was equally as terrifying as Pennywise the clown.
This is the part where the internet started losing its collective mind. That creeping sense of dread, starting to dizzily fill your chest cavity up like a helium balloon? Here’s where it starts to feel like it just. Might. Pop…
We catch our first brief, flashing glimpse of one of the creepiest, most enduring horror icons of all time.
If you’re like me and aren’t one of the people who is either legitimately terrified of clowns or if you’re a phobic-hipster that is riding the wave and declaring that you’ve always been scared of clowns while crushing your kale-crusted gluten-free microbrew thin crust pizza there is still no denying the pure horror of seeing something so strangely out of place as a make-uped clown in a sewer.
We don’t see what happens to the kid which, quite frankly, is probably for the best. If your nerves aren’t shot at this point — all of 42 seconds in — then you probably are a creepy clown lurking in sewers. Then we get the gradual overview of the town and have a few more idyllic-but-soon-to-be-shattered wide shots of a small North Eastern town. Vintage Stephen King.
We see a whole lot of white people. Which is vintage Steve King (R – Iowa). (*Author’s note: I promise, I won’t make that joke any more)
WORLD’S CREEPIEST BALLOON ALERT
The kid detectives start making horrifying realizations about their small town that are probably, definitely, an allegory for growing up. But, since this is a great horror movie preview, they do so in the creepiest of ways. They stand outside decrepit murder-shacks, wander through pipes clad in jorts and armed only with flashlights, and I still haven’t seen a single person over the age of 16.
And here we find ourselves at the creepiest part of the entire preview. The kid detectives have gamely banded together in the hopes of saving their friends, siblings, the town, indeed their very souls. They are scrolling through a slideshow because: to a kid from the pre-Powerpoint days, there was literally nothing more official than a slideshow. But something goes horribly, creepily, terribly wrong.
The slideshow starts moving faster and begins essentially strobing images together so quickly that we start to see the kind of partial reveal that makes this an elite level trailer.
When you’re done having goosebumps erupt all over your skin like a Mount Saint Helens of panic, skin bubbling up so hard that you nearly fracture your forearms, tell me that isn’t a horrifying partial image. That’s the horror movie version of those almost-naked pics of Anthony Weiner from his sexting scandal.
Cue a bunch of horrifying ways to die in short succession. Highlights include burning, getting nasty poop-water shot into your face from a sink (*Author’s note: presumably fatal in high enough doses) and creepy clown hands with claws. If they were coy with their images earlier, now they’re ready to machine-gun fire terror at us so quickly that we can only partially catch up with our swiss-cheese minds.
Oh, shit. We’re back in the sewer. Oh, double shit. The rain slicker kid is back. But he’s not so adorable anymore. Triple, fudge-dipped shit on a stick. He’s repeating a creepy line over and over again. Classic demonic/insane/possessed kid. Pardon me while I go change my shorts.
Well, hell. Here we are. The final creeptastic mind-bone. The old monster hiding in the fetid, stinking, black water that is slowly rising like the bile in my throat. Also, Pennywise’s bangs look like shit, bro. Do you even condition, P-Wise?
Anyway, thanks for going on this journey with me. If you thought you heard a young girl screaming like her worst fears were suddenly being realized by a giant, sewer-dwelling clown-murderer, don’t worry: it was just me.