This Week In Trailers: You Are Not Alone, 56 Up, Stalled, False Trail, The Package, Stag

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 get trapped in the ladies room, visit a small town in Illinois in order to get murdered, have a mid-life crisis, find a stripper for a bachelor party, get some Stormare power in our corner to catch a killer, and stop in to see what Steve Austin is up to. You Are Not Alone Trailer

Clear your calendar, block some time out, put your phone on mute, if you watch no other trailer this week please make it this one.

A film that reminds me of home (northwest suburbs representin', yo) and shows life in lower Illinois the way I remember it, there is a real weight placed on the location. It's an odd way to begin a discussion about a trailer, I realize that, but the first thing this trailer sells is its sense of where we're at. From the idyllic town where the action is about to go down, the breathless way we move through moment to moment in this first person narrative, and the powerfully haunting score that accompanies it, this is an incredible introduction to this world.

Now, unlike Doom and the shaky cam that United 93 has forever turned me off of thanks to nausea, I like the use of the perspective here. It's novel, yes, but in the trailer it works to establish not only the characters but it manages to increase the tension when things go south. On a program like Peep Show it's able to use that perspective to increase the subtlety on a moment and I just feel like it works in this case.

And it's that moment as we're riding in the back of a truck with that woman and the fireworks that go off by the house that illuminate the darkness ever so briefly that makes me lose my mind. I want to know so badly what is about to happen to these people that when things go south and it devolves into a real panic situation that I am in 100% love with this trailer. I am emotionally invested with the rage that explodes on the screen and the heaviness, the raw weight that the environment brings to this picture because we are so close to the carpet, the walls. It's damn near hacky to say it but you do feel like you're there and it's a bit electric.

I can't think of a better trailer I saw all week than this one and, God help me, it better be as good as the movie because I can't imagine how you can package something this low budget, so well, and have it completely fall apart when you let it air out. Regardless, though, I am in love and now want to see some of my fellow midwesterners, oh yah hey dere, cut up like flank steak as soon as possible. Incredible.

Stalled Trailer

When the zombie apocalypse happens in a women's restoom I'm more than all ears, I'm all eyes.

Director Christian James is bringing a whole new angle to this now tired and busted genre by just getting scatological. There's something about seeing ladies getting frisky with each other, and me thinking someone just sent me zombie porno, only to hear the satisfying crunch of teeth digging into flesh.

There honestly isn't much more to this trailer other than the literal parade of characters that begin to inhabit this toilet space. I'm at a loss to try and even imagine what this movie could possibly bring that new and fresh but I am won over by its charm and gumption. Using a demented version of "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" as a conga line of zombied, costumed characters enter the bathroom is a nice touch as well as the use of zombie Jesus which, in and of itself, is pretty meta. The nutty meter is off the charts with this one and good for James as we've been missing a fun zombie film for a little while and I'm feeling there might be a chuckle, a guffaw, or two to be had here.

Big ups for the quality kills, as well, as the makeup and blood and viscera on display kept me more than engaged with the insanity unfolding on the screen. There is no way I can't not watch this now, you realize this, right? For better or worse I need to know how this ends.

56 Up TrailerMichael Apted wins the war of persistence, without question.

You see a trailer like this and all you can do is marvel at the sheer amount of focus and dedication you have to possess in order to stick with a story for as long as he has. The trailer doesn't do anything particularly flashy or novel but it sells the idea of a movie that is part of a larger whole. Seven previous editions are a bit unwieldy to get through but the trailer here just hits the highlights from the other films by having a few stories that have carried over.

It's a trailer that helps carry you through these people's life arc and explains how we're here with them right now. In a way it's melancholy to hear how the subjects themselves saw this project unfolding and the futile thrashing to push it away, you see how they've eased on their dreams and accepted what this life is all about for better or worse. Damn near made me depressed but it looks like it could be required viewing if for no other reason than to be educated to hear how people are reflecting on their human experience 56 years into their time on this planet.

Stag TrailerBrett Heard, you naughty cad.

I think if i had but one sentence to describe this trailer it would be that this is what Workaholics: The Movie would look like if it ever made the small screen. After seeing this all the way through there are some very humorous moments that appear as though an investment of $1 to a Redbox near you isn't out of the question, but I don't think it deserves much more than that. Which isn't to say that it's bad, mind you, just that what's on display fits within the acceptable guidelines for what a good comedic trailer should provide.

It has a little narrative development, it has some awkward moments that actually work, some crude humor, all big points to consider when thinking about how you want to spend 90 minutes of your time. It earns that right to be at least considered as you ponder your options and, as a Donald Faison fan, he displays that same level of comedic intensity. I realize comedy is subjective, and that this is closer to the objective side of things by saying it appears to be a middling comedy at best, but there's enough reasons to appreciate what they're selling.

False Trail TrailerKjell Sundvall might not be known to many of you but for those of us who remember his work on the seminal classic,  1999's In Bed With Santa, then you know what kind of lumber this man is swinging.

All joking aside, this is a trailer that just hits the right way. With as much attention that has been paid to the Scandinavians and their strange-hold on all things crime in the last decade this appears to be yet another in a series of movies that deal with something savage with someone trying to get to the bottom of it all. And, when one of those people is Peter Stormare, you have a perfect storm brewing. And Peter delivers in this trailer.

We don't have any clue what's happening but what we are let in on is that we have a serial killer, that killer gets away and terrorizes some more, while Peter seems to be the deep, pensive thoughtful detective who is trying to keep his case, and his life, together. I like the beats we hit in how we move from crazy psychopath to Stormare going batty on a pile of paperwork. The juxtaposition is nice as well as moments that show us that he's genuinely able to play the side of the quiet intellectual and the nutty detective who finds himself being consumed by his work.

Again, there isn't anything really to base our conceptions on other than the clips that we're given (possibly because we don't want to scare those lightweights who might find out they'll have to read subtitles?) but this is an exciting trailer that mixes solid action with quiet periods of reflection.

The Package Trailer

They still make these kinds of movies? I saw one frame of this and just marveled at the incredible horribleness that still passes as entertainment.

I'm positive that the 13 year-old me would have loved this, the latest from direct-to-DVD visionary Jesse V. Johnson. Now, of course this appeals to a certain demo and the language, the pacing, the sell job, points to all of that. However, it's interesting that it just embraces that identity completely and fully. At about the minute mark when Steve Austin is on the run from God knows what, or who, that cheese ball metal riff kicks in and you might as well have calliope music in the background with how silly it all is.

I'm sure there is some demo who is excited about this and for that I say I'm sorry. Life does get better, I promise.

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

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

  • A Haunted House Trailer - Looks like it'll be worth a $1 rental, maybe get a laugh or two in return.
  • I'm So Excited Trailer - Quite literally singing about how excited they are. Have zero clue what to think of it.
  • The Haunting in Connecticut 2: Ghosts of Georgia Trailer – I have a feeling we got shown a large percentage of the money shots.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer - I was one of the most staunch people against this franchise but after seeing the last movie and seeing this trailer, it's all I can do to contain myself.
  • Drift Trailer - Feels like a decent enough drama.
  • Bates Motel Trailer - Looks interesting enough to give it an episode or two.
  • The Smurfs 2 Trailer - No.
  • Identity Thief Trailer – I'm sure my parents will enjoy this.
  • NO Trailer - Really excited to see how this all comes together.
  • John Dies At The End Red Band Trailer - Appears to be a fairly fun ride that doesn't demand a whole lot.
  • Storage 24 Trailer - What a fun little romp. And who doesn't like a movie about aliens when you're in tight quarters?
  • To The Wonder Trailer – I'm onboard with this vision. Like it or hate it, I'm entranced by its superficial beauty.
  • Pain & Gain Trailer – I kind of liked this one.
  • The Great Gatsby Trailer - All the hallmarks for a Baz love fest are present and accounted for.
  • The Heat Red Band Trailer – You're trying too hard and I'm suspicious.
  • Admission Trailer #2 – Not really feeling this one. So much exposition.
  • This Is The End Trailer - That was certainly interesting.
  • The Incredible Burt Wonderstone Trailer – Eh, looks sorta OK.