Thursday 17 December 2015

Trailer Review: The Forest

For starters, this trailer is way too long. Three minutes is a short film, not a movie trailer. But the real problem lies in the trailer's editing and sound design. I'm almost certain this movie trades more on atmosphere than jump scares, but the trailer would have you believe the opposite. Full of sound cues and hard cuts, the trailer for The Forest looks like something from the Screen Gems Horror Film Assembly Plant.

To me, this points to just how badly some people misunderstand the genre. Horror can be, and often is, all broad strokes and obviousness--and there's nothing inherently wrong with that. But horror can also be subtle and quiet, and recently this kind of atmospheric (elevated?) horror has been winning over more mainstream audiences. The promotions people over at Focus Features/Gramercy Pictures obviously didn't get the message, which begs the question, do these people even pay attention to horror and genre cinema in the first place?

The answer is, probably not. The documentary, Lost Souls, makes it clear that studio execs don't give a shit about movies--but they (some of them, at any rate) do have a very good understanding of how much they should cost. Taking that into consideration, it shouldn't surprise me that something like The Forest could be so badly misrepresented by its own trailer; PG-13 horror, which is nothing but jump scares set against a backdrop of mildly spooky atmosphere, can be relatively cheap to produce and turn a big profit. As such, the trailer for any horror movie, regardless of type, will attempt to appeal to that teen market. Because teens are pretty stupid, let's face it. They like what they like, and if The Forest looks like Carrie, then they'll go see it.

I know the good people who are marketing The Forest don't give a damn about cultivating taste, but this trailer does a huge disservice to the movie, and to the audience. If I were the filmmaker, I'd be pissed. That's assuming, of course, the movie is what I think it is. I could be wrong.

God, I hope I'm not wrong.

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