Halloween is right around the corner, and now we can feel it more than ever courtesy of the latest batch of movie promotional material. Of course, a nice chunk of the more recent goods came out of Spike TV’s Scream Awards, which premiered material from The Woman in Black, Paranormal Activity 3 and er – Red Tails?
The Scream Awards Stuff
Okay, so Red Tails doesn’t exactly fit into the genre realm, but the new minute-long trailer definitely keeps attention on the high-flying action and explosions more than its predecessors, letting it fit in quite nicely. As for The Woman in Black, we’ve got more decent bumps-in-the-night ghostly scares, but there’s still a little something off about Harry Potter posing as a family man. Oh, and Paranormal Activity 3? You’ll have to wait a bit for that (I guess that deserved a spoiler alert).
The Obligatory Spooky October Stuff
In non-Spike spooky promo news we’ve got the very first poster for The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3D, which appropriately stays true to its predecessors by keeping the design simple and giving the chainsaw the spotlight, but the lack of any creativity whatsoever is a bit disappointing. Plus, the tagline “Buzz. Kill” suggests this piece of the franchise might be more on the campier side whereas all of the previous Chainsaw films have thrived off the truly sick, twisted and downright disturbing material. Somewhat paradoxically, The Devil Inside is an original film, but pulls quite a bit from its contemporaries. Even having seen The Last Exorcism merely a year ago, there’s something inherently intriguing and creepy about demonic possessions, and director William Brent Bell seems competent enough handling the subject matter to offer something rather fresh while holding onto some of those good old scare tactics.
While the horror genre clearly dominates these first two categories, oddly enough, its presence in the top and bottom three is rather minimal. Paranormal Activity 3 represent!
The Best Stuff
1. Paranormal Activity 3 Clip: Might as well start with this now that I’ve spoiled the surprise. We’ve already seen a few clips from the film and even a teaser that basically is a clip itself, but there’s something about this new bit of footage that humanizes two characters more than ever. It’s possible part of this sensation comes from the footage being in color, but far more so because we can feel there’s a real person showing us something and that the cameraman is sharing the moment with another very real character. On top of that, not only is the scare in this scene true to franchise form, but it suggests that the formula still works since it’s rather frightening. Plus, that’s quite the convincing young actress directors Henry Joost and Ariel Schulamn have got there.
2. The Descendants Trailer: It’s safe to say that George Clooney is one of the most famous actors out there, right? Yes, that’s great for him and his career, but it also makes embodying a character that much harder. However, Clooney is one of few actors on that tier that manage to transcend his fame and become completely enveloped by a wholly different person. In the case of The Descendants, it’s Matt King. Not only does this new trailer show off its main man, but also its award-winning director, the variety of colorful characters and the stirring tone of the film. The combination works in the full feature and it certainly does in this trailer, too.
3. Act of Valor Trailer: Mike McCoy and Scott Waugh are taking one heck of a risk on their first feature film by working with non-actors. While there are a few minor moments in Act of Valor’s first trailer that suggest some of the talent is on the inexperienced side, the degree of authenticity overall could prevail. Act of Valor focuses on a group of Navy SEALs on a covert mission to rescue a kidnapped CIA agent. Those Navy SEALs? They’re the real guys. And the mission? Based on true events. Whether or not some acting issues show up in the final cut we won't know till we see it, but based on this trailer the honesty behind this piece could be more than enough to make it a notably engaging film.
The Worst Stuff
1. Trespass Bulgarian Poster: There’s going to have to be a Best/Worst Hall of Fame at some point just so posters that are this bad can really get the attention they deserve. We’ve seen terrible designs for movies that barely evade the straight-to-DVD hole, but a Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman film? A Joel Schumacher film? Of course Trespass basically got panned in the US, but is that reason to just throw in the towel abroad? This Bulgarian poster has melodrama and Photoshop written all over it. And what’s with that home invader floating around in the upper right corner?
2. Margin Call Clip: Funny thing, I actually liked this film, but of all the scenes in it this is the one that rubbed me the wrong way and, sure enough, that’s what’s being used to promote the film. For someone with no head for finances and tends to steer clear of “talky” films, Margin Call is particularly engaging. However, it’s not money jargon or exposition that drags this scene down, rather that poor little maid sandwiched between Simon Baker and Demi Moore. It’s not her fault. It’s obvious what writer-director J.C. Chandor is trying to do, but that’s part of the problem -- it’s too obvious. And then he takes it a step further by having the camera track forward, straight at the maid, drawing attention to her rather than the people who matter more in the story.
3. 11-11-11 Teaser Trailer: Being the director of Saw II, III, and IV is not nearly enough of a claim to fame to use as an opening for this teaser trailer. Even worse, the voiceover’s tone sounds ridiculous when it proclaims Darren Lynn Bousman to be bringing us “a new reason to be afraid.” Sounds more like a cheesy introduction to a haunted house than something that entices people to catch a creepy film. Then the trailer turns into a bit of a period piece, presenting some sort of grand history in the vein of Immortals, but unlike the promotional pieces for Immortals, here we’re not seeing much of the film at all, merely title cards and shots that are far too dark to appreciate. If you’re going to wrap a trailer with “You are F***ed,” you’ve got to earn it. On the bright side, the film did get a pretty solid poster.