- Andrés Muschietti’s “IT: Chapter 2” wraps up the events of the 2017 box office smash ‘It’.
- The movie is set in 2016, 27 years after the events of the first film.
- It includes many flashbacks and locations that the characters saw decades ago, so there are ’80s references throughout.
- Warning: This video contains spoilers.
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The movie is set in 2016, 27 years after the events of the first film. The book “It,” by Stephen King, is set in 1958 and 1985, so there was some deviation from the original novel.
The movie opens with the homophobic attack on Adrian. This is featured in the novel but not the 1990 miniseries. King based the event on the real-life 1984 murder of Charlie Howard, a gay man attacked and thrown from the State Street Bridge in Bangor, Maine.
Early in the film, we’re introduced to the now adult Bill Denbrough on the set of the adaptation his book “Attic Room.” There are two movie references here. The first is that they’re shooting on Warner Bros. Stage 14, a legendary stage responsible for “A Streetcar Named Desire” (1951) and “A Star Is Born” (1954). Bill also talks about sliding under the stage door like Indiana Jones.
The director of “Attic Room”? It’s Peter Bogdanovich, the director of “The Last Picture Show.” A King connection… the author makes repeated references to “The Last Picture Show” in his novel “Lisey’s Story,” as character Scott Landon frequently watches the film.
Bill’s Beverly-lookalike wife in this scene is played by Jessica Chastain’s real-life BFF, Jess Weixler.
When now adult Beverly is reunited with Mike and Ben, we can see the scars on her arm from her abusive husband, Tom Rogan.
Beverly goes to visit her childhood home. It’s inhabited by Mrs. Kersh, as the name on the door changes briefly from Marsh to Kersh. King named the character Mrs. Kersh after Irvin Kershner, the director of “The Empire Strikes Back.” The 1980 movie was shot in the same studio and at the same time as “The Shining,” and King even visited the set.
Something not really featured in the 2017 film is Beverly’s nightmares about Hansel and Gretel. Mrs. Kersh is reminiscent of the witch in the Germanic folk story, making a comment about the hot oven and welcoming Beverly inside for tea just like the children in the fairy tale are welcomed in for sweets.
There are a few Pennywise clues before Mrs. Kersh transforms into the villain. Beverly spots a number of flies in a circle at the window. And the teacups the two drink out of are oddly reminiscent of Pennywise’s ruff.
The actress who plays Mrs Kersh, Joan Gregson, is no stranger to King’s work, having starred in ABC’s “Storm of the Century” in 1999.
We see shop exteriors in the town of Derry, some of which are named after real-life places in Port Hope, Ontario, where the movie was filmed. There is a real Racine Law firm and a Queenies Bake Shop. Fun fact: Queenie was also the name of King’s childhood dog.
Inside Derry’s secure institution, a cartoon is playing on the TV. This cartoon is “Tom and Jerry: The Truce Hurts,” depicting a steak falling into a sewer. The steak floats away just like Georgie’s boat in “It.”
The movie includes lots of flashbacks and locations the characters last saw decades ago, so there are a lot of ’80s references throughout.
The Losers return to their underground clubhouse. In a flashback scene, we get a few ’80s references. Cameo’s 1986 hit “Word Up” is playing. There’s a poster for the 1987 movie “The Lost Boys,” and one of Michael J. Fox from his 1987 cover of Rolling Stone.
Later in the film, Richie and Eddie are also wearing vintage T-shirts, such as this 1980s Santa Cruz logo tee.
Richie revisits the arcade where he had played Street Fighter, the classic 1980s game. On the wall behind him is a poster for 1998’s “You’ve Got Mail.” This is the second time Meg Ryan pops up in the movie, as you might recall in the opening scenes Adrian shouts to the bullies: “Meg Ryan called. She wants her wig back.”
Ben hides in a locker from Pennywise. Behind him on the locker wall we see a poster of Danny from New Kids on the Block. We also hear him listening to the band in an earlier scene.
King makes a cameo in the movie, much like he has done in other adaptations of his work. This time he’s an antiques dealer wearing a Neil Young T-shirt.
An old licence plate near the counter is similar to the CQB 241 licence on the 1958 Plymouth Fury in 1983’s “Christine.” In the “It” novel, Henry Bowers escapes from the asylum in a cherry-red 1958 Plymouth Fury.
The store Secondhand Rose is the same from the novel and 1994’s “Insomnia,” Secondhand Rose, Secondhand Clothes.
King makes a joke at his own expense. Bill asks King’s character if he wants him to sign the book he’s reading, to which King replies no, as the ending was bad. The book’s cover has all the visual hallmarks of a King novel. This parallel between criticisms of King’s work and Bill’s books having bad endings crops up a few times in the movie.
Speaking of cameos, look out for Andrés Muschietti as a customer in the drugstore where Eddie goes to pick up his prescription.
Fans have also suggested that one of adult Ben’s boardroom colleagues is none other than Brandon Crane, who played the kid Ben in the 1990 miniseries.
Eddie’s wife, Myra Kaspbrak, is played by the same actress who played his mother, Sonia. Guess he never really escaped his mum after all.
In a scene where Bill runs through a fairground funhouse, the swinging clowns he runs past are dressed up just like Tim Curry’s 1990 version of Pennywise.
As the gang battles Pennywise, he turns into a monster reminiscent of the spider-legged alien in 1982’s “The Thing.” This time, it’s Stanley’s head with arachnid legs growing out of it. This is accompanied by a “The Thing” quote: “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
When Beverly struggles for air in the blood-soaked toilet cubicle, a variety of faces try to edge through the door. One of them says “Here’s Johnny!” in reference to “The Shining.”
Also written on the bathroom wall is a clue to how Beverly and the gang beat Pennywise. It reads “big is what IT seems.” Beverly later tells the gang they need to make him feel small to defeat him.
Another 1980s movie, 1989’s “Nightmare on Elm Street 5,” is playing at the movie theatre in the closing shots. In “It: Chapter 2,” the defeat of Pennywise is almost like a late-series Freddy Krueger movie: surreal and CGI-heavy.
Bill receives a phone call from Mike at the end of the movie. In these scenes, he is reading a copy of “A History of Old Derry” by Branson Buddinger. You may recall this book from the first movie as the one Ben reads in Derry Library.
In fact, the room Bill is in looks quite similar to the office in the final scene of “Stand By Me,” where Richard Dreyfuss as The Writer types the movie’s final lines into his computer.