Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we try not to be the victim, examine the effects of modern warfare on the psyche, get into an awkward relationship, get in on this World Cup action, and go on holiday with the kids.

Let Us Prey Trailer

Director Brian O’Malley knows what’s up.

There isn’t always a need to set things up, narratively speaking, when it comes to movies like this, but, when you need to make an impression, in less than a minute, this should be a template by which all should take the lead. With this teaser it’s just a thrilling drop through a deep hole where nothing is going to be held back.

Blood, decapitation, guns, heads in refrigerators, all of these things on their own wouldn’t be much to look at but the editing is so silky smooth that I hardly ever noticed the shift between moments. The music is pretty stock and, hell, even the title isn’t anything to blow your skirt up about with how “clever” it is, but for something that is coming from a first time director out of Ireland I am thrilled at the prospect of a movie that looks lovingly dipped in the deliciousness of dark horror. It all clicks and makes perfect sense.

The Kill Team Trailer

There are lots of stories out there like this.

One of the things that separate good documentaries about the conflicts we have found ourselves embroiled in and great documentaries is how well it shows the facets that seem to be missing from our modern media. The stories of soldiers who are finding themselves in a dark place while in situ or what mental state returning veterans are grappling with, these are the examinations where the most profound understanding of what war means really lives.

There is no good way to talk about the jarring things that happen when you’re taken into the theater of battle and everything goes sideways. Things you thought were true and right become murkier but this trailer is very delicate in approaching the conversation with the greatest of tact. The pull quotes obviously help to raise the visibility of this movie but they’re injected with the tact and decorum that this kind of subject demands.

Director Dan Krauss has been involved with documentaries like We Are Legion and Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers and knows how to navigate these perilous waters with the right balance of insight and emotional resonance. It probably won’t be easy to get through, the trailer doesn’t make it any easier to approach, but this is the kind of documentary that seems necessary.

The Referee Trailer

Yes, I fall in love easily.

I’m a pretty cheap date when it comes to selling me on an idea, as long as the trailer can make a play for my affections in just the right way. This is the human equivalent of someone who seems to just have a great heart, has great intentions and can appreciate their past. There is a fun, infectiously giddy way in which we land in this reality.

Couched in no place or time that I’m familiar with, this movie about soccer and the men who referee and play it is something I could imagine being created by Fellini if he was so possessed to tone it down a tinge and focus on sports. With the introduction of a mullet headed dude who drips with machismo and a cast of characters that I can’t reasonably keep track of, the trailer simply feeds off of its humor.

I’m just entranced by its mix of style and swagger. There is only the slightest bit of plot that is offered up in order to at least anchor us in this world but, after that, first time director Paolo Zucca feels like it’s game on. It zigs and zags without any tether to anything even remotely resembling a plot but who cares, to be honest. I was just happy to go along for the ride in the backseat while this trailer danced and gave me a sweet taste of what was to come should I decide to give into its wiles. Absolutely I will.

Love Eternal Trailer

“I am…a defective human being”

I apologize that this is a trailer that has been out in the ether for some time but since it hasn’t hit stateside and I didn’t hear about it until this week I am placing it here in the hopes someone can tell me whether it’s good to pine over it as I’m doing now. Sometimes, something like this descends from a planet that we’ll call originality and star absolutely no one you know while looking incredibly polished.

There is something so heartbreaking, yet strange, here and I’m caught up in this narrator’s weird vibe. The story appears to be constructed with an eye towards upending the usual tropes that saddle many movies about awkward young people. It’s hard to say anything about the story when all we get here are essentially moving tableaus to dysfunctional relationships. That said, though, there’s an aching that comes through and you can pick up on it by watching what’s happening here.

Director Brendan Muldowney has crafted a creepy, haunting and enigmatic trailer that focuses more on emotion than on narrative.

What We Did On Our Holiday Trailer

I am literally writing this within a Chrysler Town and Country minivan on my way to Disneyland and this trailer is so spot on.

One of the things that I loathe about the modern family comedy is how broad it is and how soft the punches land. Yes, there are a couple of bright spots to look at but if you want a full-on head butt about what it’s like to endure life with little kids who are just as, if not more, maniacal than most serial killers (just see how easily they lie with no compunction. They’re sociopaths, to be sure) then find and consume as many episodes of Outnumbered as you can. It’s fantastic and biting but those without kids will probably still enjoy the humor that comes out of this look at the family unit when no one cares how well polished it all looks. It’s about as close to real life misery and joyousness as you can get without actually owning a pack of hooligans yourself.

It explains why this trailer appealed to me immediately. It not only gets better as it gets deeper but the kids are responsible for the absolutely best lines in this thing. It starts out kind of cheeky but it absolutely gains momentum as we listen to this kid talking about his summer holiday. Even though David Tennant stars, it’s his young son in this movie who steps in at about the minute mark and delivers the best line I’ve heard being uttered by a youth in some time.

The production value of the trailer and the use of “In The Summertime” is a little too on the nose but it doesn’t take away from the humor or seeing Billy Connolly back into the swing of things.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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