Trailer Park: Scares, Swingers, and Safe Houses

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Welcome to “Trailer Park,” our regular Friday feature where we collect the week’s new trailers all in one place and do a little “judging a book by its cover,” ranking them from worst to best and taking our best guess at what they may be hiding. We’ve got seven new trailers this week, ranging from family-friendly zombies to haunted hotels to psycho teens; check ’em out after the jump.

Project X

Huh. I know unusual reboots are all the rage, but I don’t know how the hell they got from Matthew Broderick and Helen Hunt and the sign language chimps to this.

Safe House

How do you solve a problem like the Safe House trailer? On one hand, you’ve got every damn CIA movie cliché in the playbook, from the twisty-turny inside-job whose-on-whose-side stuff to the groan-inducing sing-along heard-it-all-before dialogue like “he was one of the most brilliant CIA operatives we ever had… until he went rogue” (poor, poor Vera Farmiga). But on the other hand, here’s Denzel Washington, the modern master of the complicated action hero, in a role that appears tailor-made to his singular gift of showing you everything and telling you nothing. It may be a movie we’ve seen a hundred times before, but here’s the catch: We haven’t seen it with Denzel before. (Nice music cues, too.)

We Bought a Zoo

It is so easy, so very very easy, to get cynical in the face of a Cameron Crowe trailer — especially after the tanking of Elizabethtown and all of the retroactive hate for Jerry Maguire and even the occasional potshot at Almost Famous (blasphemy). It’s almost like he’s courting it with the international trailer for We Bought a Zoo — laying on the uplifting music and the inspirational dialogue and ridiculously good-looking people like Matt Damon and Scarlett Johannson gazing lovingly at each other. Nothing on this earth would be simpler than dismissing this trailer, laughing at it derisively, and moving on. But… I dunno. I dunno what to tell you here. I’m not made of wood. I think this guy got me again.

ParaNorman

Donovan’s “Season of the Witch” isn’t the kind of tune you usually expect to hear in a family movie trailer — though Laika, the animation studio behind Coraline, proved with that film that they’re not making typical family movies. This dialogue-free (well, mostly) teaser trailer for their summer 2012 release is apparently their entry into the Zombie Movie Derby; here’s looking forward to some twisted stop-motion animation with a dash of dark wit.

Wanderlust

Everybody in this one’s worked with everybody else elsewhere: Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston co-starred in The Object of My Affection, Rudd and director David Wain worked together on Role Models and Wet Hot American Summer, and Aniston and supporting player Justin Theroux have reportedly been doing a little goat-milking off-camera, if you catch my drift. (I just can’t apologize enough for that line.) It doesn’t look like anyone’s exactly reinventing the wheel with this story of a commune notably less evil than Martha Marcy May Marlene’s, but Wanderlust looks solid: Rudd is doing his affable everyman (albeit one with flawless comic timing) while Aniston may finally get some funny material again (Friends has its haters, but she proved herself a truly gifted comedienne on that show). The State and Stella vet Wain is a pretty reliable filmmaker; we’ll definitely give this one a shot.

The Innkeepers

If you haven’t seen The House of the Devil, you’re just gonna have to set aside the next 95 minutes to go over to Netflix and instant-watch that bad boy. Ti West’s masterful tribute to early-‘80s horror is one of the most exquisite cinematic slow-boils in recent movie history, building tension and dread under the clunky-Walkman mise en scene, capped with a shocking and brutally effective payoff. We’ve been eagerly anticipating his follow-up, and it looks like a peach—good story, evocative imagery, big scares. And you’ve gotta love any horror movie that not only gives you the line “You mustn’t go down into the basement,” but follows it with the flickering-out light bulb close-up. All right, West, we’re ready.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

If We Need to Talk About Kevin is half as creepy and unnerving as this trailer, I’m not sure I’ll be able to handle the movie. The first half, a hyper-paced summary of pregnancy, birth, and childhood, is like the opening of Up as directed by David Fincher; the remainder promises a disturbing and nerve-jangling story of a psychopath in the making. Throw in Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, and up-and-comer Ezra Miller (who has mostly been great in underseen pics like Beware the Gonzo and Every Day), and this just shot to the top of our winter must-see list.