“The Art of the Modern Movie Trailer” from NPR (and ones that suck)

I see so many movie trailers that the pacing, the pitch and psychology of them is like a language I don’t speak but passively and completely understand. I admire a good one, a trailer that subverts the expectations, like this one. And I agree with this NPR story about movie trailers, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (2011) trailer is amazing. A good trailer creates suspense and provides mood without giving too much of the plot away. That’s the cardinal sin.

I’m OK with a trailer that hits the expected beats, it’s the ones that carry big spoilers that really piss me off. Like, for instance, this one. It’s from another Daniel Craig movie, Dream House, that was released in 2011. At the 1:17 mark it gives away the key piece of the thriller, the Shyamalan-esque twist, which does the opposite of what it should do: It deflates suspense.

To someone like me who watches a lot of trailers, it speaks to the lack of confidence the producers/studio have in the film, if they want to spell it all out.

About the author


Carsten Knox is a massive, cheese-eating nerd. In the day he works as a journalist in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At night he stares out at the rain-slick streets, watches movies, and writes about what he's seeing.