It’s so easy to miss a AAA trailer these days, even with all the endless marketing build-up around teasers, pre-trailers (“in one day,” etc) and other forms of cinematic hype. A good trailer is an art form, one that is able to convey a movie’s plot, tone and style all while resisting that ever-present urge to score it to a slowed-down pop song. So here’s the Trailer Park, where we’re parking all the trailers you may have skipped, missed or want to revisit from the past week. Appreciate them. Nitpick them. Figure out if the movies they’re selling are actually going to be any good. That’s all part of the fun, after all.
This week, we’ve got the first trailer for A Quiet Place Part II in a year, our first look at Chloé Zhao’s Marvel debut Eternals, George Romero’s lost horror film The Amusement Park, Paul Verhoeven’s nun romance Benedetta and more.
Director: Chloé Zhao
Release Date: November 5, 2021
From the highly anticipated sequel to Black Panther, now subtitled Wakanda Forever and set for a July 2022 release, to Chloé Zhao’s Eternals, the new Marvel sizzle reel flashes through the titles of the next eight Marvel releases in its fourth phase—including the newly titled Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels. With the amount of projects slated there will be a new Marvel release every few months for the next two years. Phew.
Eternals will be Zhao’s next film after the Frances McDormand-led Nomadland earned the filmmaker both Best Picture and Best Director wins at this year’s Oscars. Eternals, based on the Jack Kirby comics, follows a group of immortal beings who’ve indelibly shaped life on Earth. The film stars an impressive ensemble cast including Angelina Jolie, an absolutely jacked Kumail Nanjiani, Brian Tyree Henry, Salma Hayek, Gemma Chan and more. Plus, the film will feature the MCU’s first openly queer character.—Adesola Thomas
Director: John Krasinki
Release Date: May 28, 2021
It’s been over a year since the sequel to smash hit horror film A Quiet Place was supposed to debut, and the delayed film is finally limping to theaters at the end of the month. So, to remind us all that oh yeah, this thing is really coming out, we’ve got a final little trailer to set the stage. While this snippet once again teases that the film will show the day the world changes (and necessarily hushes up), we also get a bit more of what the meat of the plot will ostensibly show: Emily Blunt and crew carrying on directly after the ending of the original film. The pullquotes may be focused on convincing us that the film was worth the year-long delay, but the footage was always going to stand alone…and it still looks pretty exciting.
Director: George A. Romero
Release Date: June 8, 2021 (Shudder)
The lost film referred to by the widow of zombie maestro George A. Romero as the late director’s “most terrifying” is finally seeing the light of day, and come June you’ll be able to experience Romero’s The Amusement Park, virtually unknown since it was first created in 1973. The rediscovered, seemingly experimental film is headed to horror streamer Shudder in the U.S., who have put out a first trailer for Romero’s lost gem. What is The Amusement Park, though, exactly? Relatively unknown as a stage actor, the film stars Lincoln Maazel, who is known to horror fans through his appearance in one other Romero feature, 1978’s quasi-vampire story Martin. The Amusement Park, on the other hand, was originally commissioned by the Lutheran Society, which “wanted to create a film to raise awareness about ageism and elder abuse,” according to Indiewire. What Romero then delivered was described as being about “an elderly man who finds himself disoriented and increasingly isolated as the pains, tragedies, and humiliations of aging in America are manifested through roller coasters and chaotic crowds.” It was shot between two of the director’s best-known features, 1968’s Night of the Living Dead and 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, in the same year as Romero released The Crazies. The Amusement Park was never properly released, however, and was seen by very few audiences. Those that have seen it suggest that the disturbing and disorienting nature of Romero’s finished product was not warmly received by the hapless Lutherans who commissioned it.—Jim Vorel
Director: Paul Verhoeven
Release Date: July 9, 2021 (France)
Cannes you believe it? After skipping the prestigious festival last year (well, everything—including the festival—skipped the festival because of COVID last year), the new film from Paul Verhoeven is finally coming to audiences—and those well-versed in Shudder’s offerings may see some familiar imagery. Verhoeven’s newest since 2016’s Elle, Benedetta’s lesbian nuns and tense 15th century setting might be giving genre fans The Devils vibes. And that would be awesome. There’s no real hint of a “possession,” though the trailer’s church leaders do give knowing, cynical glances when discussions of miracles arise, but the tone still feels more like a psychological thriller than a romance. Perhaps that comes with the territory as Benedetta starts seducing the locals after joining a Tuscany convent mid-plague. Oh, and things are as horny as you might expect. Starring Virginie Efira, Charlotte Rampling, Daphné Patakia and Lambert Wilson, Benedetta’s romantic/religious intensity comes based on Judith C. Brown’s book Immodest Acts—itself based on real events. It’s hard to overstate Verhoeven’s love of pushing boundaries and this latest film looks like it’ll keep his controversial streak alive—all while generating more steam than an old riverboat.
Director: Mark Raso
Release Date: June 9, 2021 (Netflix)
Folks, this is not a drill. We’ve got another high-concept sci-fi thriller on our hands. Awake’s gimmick? Nobody can sleep…except for, of course, one of the little kids at the heart of the film. Starring Gina Rodriguez, Ariana Greenblatt, Frances Fisher, Shamier Anderson, Finn Jones, Lucius Hoyos, Gil Bellows, Barry Pepper and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Awake looks more than a little silly—though its desperate premise might see it capture some familiar excitement through the lens of something like The Machinist.