Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: 'The Darkest Hour' and T'he Devil Inside' Shock Via Electricity and Exorcism

Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: 'The Darkest Hour' and T'he Devil Inside' Shock Via Electricity and Exorcism

Dec 01, 2011

The Darkest Hour Viral PosterAre we in a post-holiday weekend slump? Maybe a bit. While there were three solid top contenders, the field in general was rather sparse with most of the new promotional material veering towards the lackluster side.


The reviews are starting to come in and Cameron Crowe’s We Bought A Zoo is off to a pretty good start, but based on the film’s promotional campaign, the production looks as though it leans a bit too much on the cheesy sentimental side. Two new clips from the film have just arrived, one featuring a conversation between Matt Damon and Thomas Haden Church and the other between Damon and Scarlett Johansson, and both are packed with dialogue that basically has the scene going in circles.

On The Fence

It worked for District 9, but do The Darkest Hour warning posters have the same effect? I want to say yes simply because I’m very excited for the film, but, reassessing them from the promotional perspective of a moviegoer who might know nothing about the film, they’re basically useless as they don’t even have the film’s title on it. Also teetering on the edge of good and bad is the latest clip from Young Adult. The problem? I’ve seen the film. The video clip is particularly well cut and most certainly packs a punch and highlights one of Mavis’ most wonderful moments, but why spoil one of the film’s best scenes?


The teaser for Tim & Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie makes me feel as though I’m on the outside of an inside joke. Do I need to watch Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! to appreciate this?

Let’s table that question for the sake of the promotional material that really deserves our attention, the best and worst of the past week. You know you love it.

The Best Stuff

1. Loosies Trailer: As someone whose life quite literally revolves around movies, it’s particularly refreshing to come across something I’ve heard little or perhaps even nothing about. Does Loosies look like it’ll be a good film? Not really, but that’s not what we’re judging here. The trailer’s an instant attention-grabber thanks to the choice to open the piece with a full scene and, even better, a scene that not only focuses on an activity we haven’t seen much of on the big screen, but something that’s inherently fascinating – pick pocketing. Sure, the Loosies trailer trips over itself a bit when Peter Facinelli’s (who looks so young he could have just stepped off the set of 1998’s Can’t Hardly Wait) character’s career collides with the film’s romantic element, his relationship with Jaimie Alexander’s character, but the video is paced well enough that potential story structure troubles take a back seat to the more charming assets.

2. The Darkest Hour TV Spot 2: Sure, The Darkest Hour has an advantage thanks to my affinity for alien invasion movies, but, you have to admit, this movie looks pretty wicked. What makes this TV spot so successful is the imagery. First off, with an alien invasion premise, it’s simple to get the point across with zero voiceover and simply draw moviegoers in with visuals. Then, The Darkest Hour gets an added boost because those visuals are so stimulating. We’ve seen folks get abducted and blown to bits, but how about this shredding? Tack those vicious kills onto a handful of explosions, building collapses and electric tentacles, and put them to the tune of that eerie broken electronic score and you get something that looks as though it could fulfill the genre need, but with a sleek and innovative style we’ve never seen before.

3. The Devil Inside TV Spot: I’ve been a horror movie junkie all my life, but it’s only recently that I’ve somewhat been able to get past that uncomfortable feeling that comes from a super creepy trailer popping up during a late night commercial break. Yes, we’ve seen the whole exorcism thing before, and rather recently with The Last Exorcism at that, but it’s just too tough to get used to seeing possessed people, bone-breaking body contorting and color-less eyes; it’s eternally freaky. This type of material tends to have a paradoxical effect; it makes you want to pull the covers over your head, but whether or not you shield your eyes, the video sticks with you, leaving you itching for more. Well, in my case, at least.

The Worst Stuff

1. The Samaritan Trailer: Um, what is this? And that question refers to both the film and the trailer. Sure, Samuel L. Jackson is a draw, but the opening of the trailer for The Samaritan is rather confusing. First off, what if someone doesn’t know what a “grift” is? Then, you start to wonder, is this really the trailer or is this Samuel L. Jackson himself talking about the film? Even once you get to the more trailer-appropriate styling, the material isn’t presented in a stimulating or engaging manner. Rather than have a beat, this trailer merely feels like a string of clips haphazardly stuck together with Scotch tape – and the audio dropping out in between scenes doesn’t help. Not only does this “trailer” not provide a proper understanding of the film but it’s way too long. Even worse? The technical presentation of the trailer doesn’t give you access to the running time, so, if you’re not into it, you’re basically just waiting for it to end. Then, no running time also means no timeline, so your only option is to watch this one from beginning to end, straight through or not at all.

The Samaritan

2. The Lucky One Poster: Vomit. Okay, maybe I’m being a bit immature, but what else do you expect from someone with zero interest in another schmaltzy Nicholas Sparks movie? And I know some of you are thinking the same thing; did you know every single Sparks book-to-film adaptation is certifiably rotten on Rotten Tomatoes? Yes, even The Notebook. Not that we even needed the reminder, but if you were wondering whether or not Sparks’ latest big screen venture, The Lucky One, would fall right in line with his other productions, you got your answer. Like literally every single Sparks film, The Lucky One’s poster attempts to tug at your heartstrings by showing pretty people sharing a romantic moment. See what I mean? Vomit.

The Lucky One Poster

3. American Reunion Behind-the-Scenes Video: Now this is just plain old disappointing. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of American Reunion sounded like a total blast, but upon clicking play, all you get is a lame series of interviews, B-roll and clips. You’d think Jason Biggs, Seann William Scott, Chris Klein, Eddie Kaye Thomas and Thomas Ian Nicholas would be having a blast on this set, but based on these interviews, the experience seems rather blah. Sure, William Scott says the gang is more immature so many years later, but everyone seems rather exhausted and surprisingly unenthused. Making those interview snippets, and the whole piece for that matter, even more dull is the fact that there’s no music. Then, the only times things pep up and we get a bit of a beat is when pieces of the trailer are slipped in, but then you come to the realization that we’ve already seen all that before, so what’s the fun? A promotional item for American Reunion that’s no fun? That’s not a good sign.

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