It’s been 27 years since the Loser’s club first defeated Pennywise, but in just under a week he returns to haunt the streets of Derry. To mark the occasion, Warner Bros have pulled off a pretty frightening experience with it’s pop up IT Chapter 2 Vault Experience in London’s Waterloo. We had the nerve-jangling honour of testing out the experience before it opens its doors to the general public.
In director Andy Muschietti’s sequel to 2017’s critically acclaimed and massive global box office smash the Losers Club reunite 27 years after defeating Pennywise. Unfortunately for them, the world’s scariest clown has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now, adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, people are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all…putting them directly in the path of the shape-shifting clown that has become deadlier than ever.
The Experience takes over the expansive and atmospheric Vaults, all 11,000 square feet of it. The vaults are filled with breathtaking sets and terrifying scenes from the film in a scarily realistic and highly interactive adventure for movie lovers and especially for fans of the IT saga.
On first arrival, we are very much reminded of the curfew still in place on the town of Derry as we approach the opening of the Derry Canal Days Festival and ominous-looking funhouse. To gain entry to the funhouse you have to earn your admittance ticket either by hooking a duck from the blood-filled carnival stand or squirting water into the mouth of a clown until a balloon bursts.
Encouraged to look at the kaleidoscopic walls as you enter the mouth of the funhouse you have to make your way down dimly lit corridors, to the sound of children’s unnerving playing voices, and dodgy swinging neon clowns before arriving at the Neibolt Street haunted house. Surrounded by the Losers Club bikes and a brother and sister duo at their wits end debating whether they should enter the house to save the kids.
Gathering the group together and armed with a safe word of firefly for those of a delicate disposition, we entered the dark winding corridors of the house as the intensity and apprehension were notched up to 100 before arriving at three doors. Each one marked Not Scary At All, Scary and Very Scary we were given the option as to which one we would like to enter. Now, not trusting a statement that says Not Scary At All, the idea of reverse psychology popped through my head, so while the majority opted for very scary we thought we would go for the not scary only to be slightly disappointed. Only two of us entered the room decked out to look like a child’s playroom which had a note on the table to wind up the jack in the box. On doing this, the lights flickered off and on and we were chased out of the room by a crawling clown that emerged from underneath some covers in the corner. If you want a major scare factor, from what we found out, go for the very scary door option.
From this point on, we were no longer allowed to take any photographic evidence. Equipped with headphones attached to an oversized walkman (kids, Google it) another over-excited tour guide greeted us to take us down into the sewers of Derry. Armed with flashlights, we gingerly walked through the slippery sewers witnessing missing posters strewn on the floor. We came to a stop at a vast open space were the flashlights decided to stop working. At this point, it was obvious that all hell was about to break loose. With the panicking guide losing her grip, lights flashing on and off to reveal spooky figures crossing our paths and creepy shadows on the wall, I suddenly found myself stranded at the back of the group and just knew that Pennywise himself would be directly behind me. Let’s just say I couldn’t get the hell out of there quick enough.
Open to the public from 31st August, ahead of ‘IT CHAPTER 2’s release in UK cinemas on 6th September.