The best kind of horror uncovers the fears you store in the depths of your brain and then hangs them out to dry on your back porch. That is to say, it’s personal. It’s insightful. It chills your blood from the inside out until your hands tremor and your eyes squeeze shut. If you don’t remember the feeling, just rewatch “It” (2017), and you’ll have no trouble identifying what horror films can do to you when they’re genuine and original. Plus, prepare for Pennywise’s return in “It Chapter Two” now in theaters.
There’s a reason “It” was so successful in it’s story, and much of that has to do with delivery. The Current interviewed Director Andrés Muschietti, who certainly brought his own personal flare when adapting Stephen King’s story. Knowing just how to get inside his audience’s mind, Muscheietti revealed much of his inspiration came from those things that scared him in his youth. In fact, the painting scene in “It” was inspired by a painting in Muschietti’s childhood home. It seems Muschietti instilled his own scare-tactics into the infamous Pennywise, who baits his victims by intuiting their greatest insecurities and twisting them horrifically.
Muschietti described his tactics as having “a touch of bizarre” rather than sticking to intentional horror, saying that, “it’s most real” that way. Indeed, as absurd as many of the scenes in the first chapter were, they were almost made to stick in your mind, just real enough for you to be unable to look at the mundane the same for a few days.
In this next chapter, viewers can expect much more of Muschietti’s craft, especially since he had a bigger budget, and, in his own words, got “to have more fun.” Knowing that the elements he focused on in the first film, such as Pennywise and The Loser’s Club, were met with such success, Muschietti said he was really able to throw himself into other details in “It Chapter Two.” While his work in the first chapter was more true to his planning, he felt his experience directing the second installment was more relaxed, as he was able to work with different elements that came with his cast of talented actors.
That said, Muschietti also mentioned that working with kids in the first film was a bit easier because “they’re kids, so they want to play. It’s more a game for them and the immediacy. For adult actors, it’s a little more complex. They’re committed.” For Muschietti, that meant more effort to get on the same page with all his actors, handling last-minute calibrations and recognizing what the actors themselves brought to the table.
Of course, the actors brought more than just their ideas to the film, they brought their talent. Part of convincing the audience of their character was mimicking behaviors and mannerisms of the child actors in the first film while still staying true to their own ideas and portrayals.
Muschietti said shooting the Jade of the Orient restaurant not only exemplified the actors’ talent but was incredibly fun to watch: “It was a confirmation that the group had chemistry, that it was credible that these guys are the same characters. Everyone’s drinking and toasting, so you assume that they’re a little tipsy and the good memories start flowing. It was super gratifying because I saw that group of losers finally taking off and it was very rewarding and relieving that they give into improvisation.”
One can infer that with more collaboration and different ideas, “It Chapter Two” is bound to be both rounded out and refreshing. It will have similar style and satisfying creepiness just like the first installment, but it will also be lush with new talent and further exploration of just what “scary” means.
Muschietti shared he is happy with how the movie came to an end and believes it’s “a more intensified experience. If people liked the first [film], they’ll enjoy the second one very much.”