This week was much easier, with almost a third as many movies receiving trailers. I’ll still try to do a quick wrap-up at the end, but this one is not the beast that week one was.

The Little Stranger

From the director of Frank and Room comes a period horror film, which uses some very fast-paced keys and strings to set the mood. What I kind of like the trailer is that everything they reveal in the trailer can be explained by human action, and it doesn’t have to be something that is truly supernatural, it can just be people doing what people often do best: namely, be terrible to one another. The one moment that really kind of frustrates me is the voice over of “you do not belong here” that then cuts to Ruth Wilson and Charlotte Rampling both looking fairly mischievous. This feels like an over-reveal of a potentially significant plot point, but I guess we’ll have to see. Overall though, this looks like a fairly entertaining horror film that will not terrify me to my core, which, after Hereditary, will be a pleasant change of pace.

Dumbo

Disney continues its current fascination with turning their classic animated films into ultimately forgettable, but serviceable, live action remakes. Here, an oddly otherworldly sounding cover of “Baby Mine” sets up the film, as we catch quick glimpses of the film’s human cast (including Tim Burton’s new favorite girl, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and the always welcome Colin Farrell), as well as some appropriately adorable shots of the titular elephant. As the music crescendos, we see fleeting glances of a number of recognizable moments from the original film (including those nightmareish pink elephants, because Tim Burton), all building up to some shots of Dumbo flying. This does what you would want a teaser trailer to do, giving us quick glances of what you expect from the movie and ending on a noteworthy moment to hook you in. I wish Disney would get back to focusing on truly original stories, but at least as they’ve been remaking the classics, they’re at least decently watchable at worst and actually quite heartwrenching at best (Pete’s Dragon is the best one of these movies, and we should feel bad that it’s the one people talk about the least).

The Nun

I mean. This looks like it could be eerie, but why are we making these stupid Conjuring spin-offs? A lot of the reason that The Conjuring movies work is that James Wan is a really excellent horror director. We don’t need these special movies focusing on creepy dolls or nuns or whatever. That said the last sequence in this trailer is actually pretty cool, giving at least the illusion of it being all one long tracking shot where the scare is almost too obviously behind our protagonist, only to have her turn around and not see the titular nun, and then having another one come from the side of the screen. It’s a decent little scare that caught me off guard the first time I watched the trailer. I really don’t see this movie being good, and they might have just given away their most effective scare, but it at least helped the trailer work. What I don’t get is why the trailer tells us to watch until the end, only for it to tell us to pray for forgiveness. That seemed silly.

The Grinch

Why? This looks utterly joyless. And we have two serviceable versions of this story. Also, why is the Grinch just walking around a grocery store? Don’t people hate him? Doesn’t he hate interacting with people? None of this makes sense and is a waste of Benedict Cumberbatch. Also, small nitpick, why does this trailer have two tags at the end? Like. Usually, you get the title, and then a wrap-up scene, but then this one does that again, with an even less funny tag. This is just a mess.

Alpha

I’m so unused to trailers having voice overs at this point, that the fact that this trailer has one honestly makes it feel like a movie that actually came out almost a decade ago. But I think the most startling thing about this trailer is how different in tone it feels from the first (which came out over a year ago). That first trailer seemed to tell a story of survival that led to man and dog befriending each other. This movie seems to focus less on the survival aspect and more on the man/dog friendship, all to the score of an Imagine Dragons song, which feels tremendously out of place here. Also, I had not heard this movie’s release date got pushed back five months (from March to this August), so I kind of assumed that it already came out and did nothing, so, good work makers of Alpha. You reminded me of your forgettable movie with another forgettable trailer. Hope it was worth the money you spent on a new marketing campaign (Ron Howard voice: “It wasn’t.”)

Unfriended: Dark Web

There’s a spoiler to Hereditary in this. Just be cautious I guess.

Can you play Cards Against Humanity, the physical card game, over Skype? I feel like that isn’t possible. Also, everything about this movie makes me mad. Dude straight up stole a computer because it was in the lost and found for a few weeks because that’s how things work. And then a dude straight up just says “Dude, this is dark web.” That isn’t how any human being speaks. Also, this trailer really seems to give away a lot of fairly significant moments (RIP Lex). So like, I guess this one can get a little bit of credit over the first one (which, I guess did well since we’re getting this nonsense), is that it focuses less on the supernatural and more on just humans being terrible. What I am concerned about though is that this movie will take the somewhat typical horror movie route and have all of our “protagonists” end up being defeated by the bad person, which is typically fine when the bad person is a demon or something (Hail Paimon, lolz), but the bad people in this are people who kidnap and do terrible things to people. I’m not about seeing them win, so I feel like this movie is going to end up really upsetting me by reminding me of how truly terrible human beings can be. And I’m not about that right now.

Rankings/One-Sentence Reviews

  1. Dumbo– Does what a good teaser should do, which is tease what a movie is going to offer, even it’s not enough to prove that these remakes are a good idea.
  2. The Little Stranger- Teasing a period psychological thriller that could easily shift into straight horror, this trailer effectively sets the mood, although may give too much away.
  3. The Nun- Although I’m convinced it will be the only worthwhile scare in the movie, the expectation shifting scare that ends this trailer is able to help it make an impression that could conceivably get me into the theater for a film I previously had zero interest in.
  4. Unfriended: Dark Web- Saying a lot about the trailers beneath it, this trailer does a whole lot of nothing for me, but at least allows me to buy into its plausibility more than the first film did.
  5. Alpha- I assumed this movie had already come out to a laughable box office, so a second trailer, entirely different in tone from the first, inspires little confidence in what should have been a relatively pleasant story about the wonderful relationship between dogs and humans.
  6. The Grinch- Utterly joyless and seeming to forget the source material, this trailer deserves a bunch of coal (I hate myself).
Photo Credit
Dumbo http://lwlcdn.lwlies.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/dumbo-tim-burton-1108x0-c-default.jpg

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