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A horror film trailer is arguably the best type of trailer you can watch (I’m biased, I know). They usually have great music and are able to get your heart racing in just two and a half minutes or less. Before it was possible to just watch trailers on YouTube, I was a real stickler for getting to the theater super early so I could look at posters and then catch all of the trailers before the movie started (mostly in the hopes of catching the latest horror movie trailer). This year saw many stellar trailers get released. So many, in fact, that it was incredibly difficult for me to narrow this list down to just 10 entries. With that being said, here are (in no particular order) 10 of the best trailers for horror films released this year!*
*Keep in mind that this is a judgment on the trailer only. The quality of the movie has nothing to do with the trailers included on this list. All trailers up for this list were for films actually released in 2016. If it was a trailer for a film coming out in 2017, it was not taken into consideration.
I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House
Osgood Perkins’s I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House doesn’t have a complex narrative. It’s a straightforward tale of a woman who moves into a haunted house. The trailer for the Netflix original film uses that simplicity to its advantage and showcases features the protagonist’s (Ruth Wilson) ominous voiceover as the viewer is taken on a brief tour of the house. It’s a chilling trailer with little pizzazz, but it gets the job done.
I know, I know. Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden isn’t a horror film. It shouldn’t qualify for this list. But, and this may sound unprofessional, I don’t really care. The extremely brief (78 seconds, to be exact) trailer doesn’t let you know anything about the plot. It merely bombards you with images from the film and pairs them with the audio assault of Vessel’s “Red Sex”. It’s simply mesmerizing.
10 Cloverfield Lane
If only all film’s trailers were released two months before the films themselves were released. The trailer Dan Trachtenberg’s 10 Cloverfield Lane was a wonderful way to start off 2016. Filmed under the fake title Valencia, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a surprise “spiritual sequel” announcement, and the trailer withholds its true identity up until its final moments. Until then, you have the pleasure of listening to Tommy James and the Shondells’s “I Think We’re Alone Now”, which is never a bad way to spend 90 seconds.
The Monster was Bryan Bertino’s (The Strangers) glorious return to form after his “just okay” Mockingbird. It came this close to landing on my Top 10 but barely missed the cut. The titular beast gets a lot more screen time than you would expect, but the film is mostly about the relationship between a junkie mother (Zoe Kazan) and her daughter (Ella Ballentine). The trailer wisely frames the film as Cujo meets Alien and sets it to the tune of a super creepy lullaby. It hints at the mother-daughter troubles but doesn’t bash you over the head with them. It’s a wonderful trailer for a wonderful film.