The Best Of This Week's Theatrical Trailers
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Set in the strange and oppressive emotional landscape of the year 1983, Beyond The Black Rainbow is a Reagan-era fever dream inspired by hazy childhood memories of midnight movies and Saturday morning cartoons. From the producer of Machotaildrop, Rainbow is the outlandish feature film debut of writer and director Panos Cosmatos. Featuring a hypnotic analog synthesizer score by Jeremy Schmidt of Sinoia Caves and Black Mountain, Beyond the Black Rainbow is an experience to the senses.
I'm an absolute sucker for trippy, psychedelic horror films (Pop Skull, Amer, Subconscious Cruelty) and Beyond the Black Rainbow is looking to be no exception. I'm even a bigger fan of horror films that manage to successfully meld elements of sci-fi and social commentary into their fear laden narrative and again, Rainbow is looking to have both in spades. Set in 1983? Another Grindhouse homage complete with a VHS release? Seven-foot-tall creatures with baby heads? Yes please!
Final Destination 5
In this fifth installment, Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man’s premonition saves a group of coworkers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse. But this group of unsuspecting souls was never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated group frantically tries to discover a way to escape Death’s sinister agenda. The new victims of Death’s plan are part of a cast led by Emma Bell (Frozen, TV’s The Walking Dead) and Nick D’Agosto (Fired Up!, TV’s Heroes). The film is being shot on location in Vancouver, Canada. The second of the Final Destination films to be shot in 3-D, Final Destination 5 is being directed by Steve Quale, marking his major feature film directorial debut. Producer Craig Perry (American Pie) returns for the fifth time, working with executive producers Sheila Hanahan Taylor, Erik Holmberg, Richard Brener, Walter Hamada and David Neustadter. The screenplay was written by Eric Heisserer, with revisions by Gary Dauberman; Heisserer is no stranger to the horror genre, having penned New Line’s recent hit A Nightmare on Elm Street. Collaborating with Steve Quale behind the scenes are director of photography Brian Pearson (Drive Angry 3D, My Bloody Valentine 3D); production designer David Sandefur (Repo Men, Journey to the Center of the Earth); editor Eric Sears (Shooter) and costume designer Jori Woodman (Eight Below).
Wow. This sequel is coming outta the gate a helluva lot faster than most sequels that follow up previous entries that purport to be the final installments. Why? Money and the millions of it to be made, of course. Because I would hedge a hefty bet it most likely doesn't have anything to do with rescuing the franchise from the hole of sucktitude that it drove itself into with the most recent sequels. I love the first film and truth, I may love the second one even more. However, with Final Destination 3, the show runners completely and utterly ruined a good thing by presenting us characters that were either so paper thin or so familiar they seemed like parodies of stereotypes, add to this tepid death scenes (save for the tanning bed sequence which was equal parts awesome and unimaginably mean spirited and cruel) and an opening catastrophe that had the potential to be the one to beat, but fell apart in a whirlwind of CGI cartoonery and credibility stretching ridiculous (and I'm even terrified of roller coasters, but alas, not that one). The Final Destination (accent on "The", liars) improved things marginally, but just barely. At either rate, by film's end, it definitely seemed as though the Destination series had prematurely grown long in the tooth way before its time, and it was indeed it was ready to be put it to rest.
Apparently this burial wasn't to be because soon we'll find ourselves back in the world of wash, rinse and repeat formulaic storytelling and Rube Goldberg-esque machinations of death. I'd be positively thrilled about this return if I felt as though the filmmakers have learned anything from their mistakes and were attempting to get the franchise back on track, but then I remember that these movies make lots of money and I'm certain that in the ego stroking, circle jerk world of Hollywood, those box office numbers are all the filmmakers need to validate what have become cinematic blights. Add to this more headache inducing 3-D, names attached behind the scenes that don't necessarily inspire confidence (Eric Heisserer of the 2010's A Nightmare on Elm Street anyone) and well, it's Final Destination 5 for crying out loud.
There are some promising diamonds in the rough though. Namely, cute as a button Emma Bell (quickly becoming a genre veteran), Tony Todd's return, a rather rousing trailer and a bridge collapse that if done right, could undue all the progress I've made regarding crossing them since The Mothman Prophecies made me pee my pants and effectively made me a land-only traveler.
Time will tell, but I'm not expecting much.
Tricia's husband has been missing for seven years. Her younger sister Callie comes to live with her as the pressure mounts to finally declare him 'dead in absentia.' As Tricia sifts through the wreckage and tries to move on with her life, Callie finds herself drawn to an ominous tunnel near the house. As she begins to link it to other mysterious disappearances, it becomes clear that his presumed death might be anything but 'natural.' Soon it becomes clear that the ancient force at work in the tunnel might have set its sights on Callie and Tricia ... and that Tricia's husband might be suffering a fate far worse than death in its grasp.
Absentia is the inaugural feature film of Fallback Plan Productions, co-founded by Morgan Peter Brown and Justin Gordon. Initial funding for the project was achieved through an ambitious (and hugely popular) Kickstarter.com campaign, in which the film raised 156% of its stated $15,000 goal in 30 days.
After private investors stepped in to fully fund the project, the film went into production in June, 2010 and shot for 15 days in Glendale, Los Angeles, and Orange County, CA.
There is lots of positive word of mouth attached to this baby, and after that impressively creepy trailer, I'm starting to get an idea of why. Monsters and ghosts? Sign me up! The only uncertainty that lingers over my admittedly strong anticipation of for Mike Flanagan's Absentia is the price tag involved in it's production. No, I am not a snob and I wholly commend his grassroots efforts in financing his film. However, I have just found over the years that if the right amount of finesse is not used while making supernaturally themed horror films, their micro-budgets can sometimes seriously hamper any attempts at atmosphere, and strong atmosphere is thee de facto element that every good ghost story requires. It appears to be a tricky tightrope to walk, because for every success like Paranormal Activity, there are hundreds of tensionless, independent spook shows cluttering up video store shelves leaving me to believe that the director must have masterful command over the use of subtlety and yes, his budget. Having voiced that concern, I am leaning more of the direction that Absentia is going to pull it all off (plus, the two leading ladies already have me engaged), leaving many with a serious case of the heebie jeebies. Here's hoping.
Martha Marcy May Marlene
Haunted by painful memories and paranoia, a damaged woman struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing an abusive cult.
Well first off, fuck yeah to the inspired casting of John Hawkes. Ever since he came out of the shadow of playing goofy supporting characters and took center stage in Miranda July's endearing comedy of quirks, Me and You and Everyone We Know, his face has been one that I haven't seen nearly enough in cinema. Martha Marcy May Marlene's chills look to be those of a more subdued, adult endeavor, but the trailer provides glimpses of disturbing potential in addition to powerhouse acting and sumptuous cinematography of the eastern countryside. Glowing advance word of mouth follows this one wherever it goes and this viewer, is certainly soon to follow.