Trailer Watch returns this week highlighting two remakes, one biopic, an original horror idea, and the latest from the eternally youthful Clint Eastwood. To say there's something for everyone here would be an understatement. Although we will have to wait for three of these films until mid-2019, the first two highlighted below look to be strong contenders for piquing audience interest. Maybe...
The Possession of Hannah Grave (dir. Diederik Van Rooijen)
Let's be honest: working in a morgue is not an ideal job. It can be a gross-out experience, you're lonely, and, as a character remarks in the trailer for the creepy The Possession of Hannah Grace, your only co-workers are decomposing cadavers; the employee break room must be a real laugh riot. Every year we tend to receive a few more exorcism-related films, but this may be the first that tells the tale of an exorcism is interrupted, or rather, a post-exorcism story that picks up after the initial freaky stuff has commenced. Apparently, if an exorcism goes wrong and ends in death, the evil spirit will seek a new vessel. Who knew!
All kidding aside, this high concept horror flick appears bonkers and the kind of joyful reprieve from awards season that we all need. It's slick and yucky enough to please the patient gorehounds and eerie enough—it feels like a haunted house film set in a morgue with a solo ghost roaming its halls—to appeal to those who like their horror a little more atmospheric. The trailer indicates a number of jump scares though, so if your ears can't handle those loud sounds that disrupt your conscience at a moment's notice, you've been warned. Release Date: November 30th, 2018, via Screen Gems.
The Mule (dir. Clint Eastwood)
He's old, he's tough, he's morally conflicted, and he's got drugs to push: Clint Eastwood both directs and stars in The Mule, a rugged-looking tale of an 88-year-old man who's a drug mule for dangerous Mexican gangs. Listen, he hasn't been much of a good husband or father and this is the way he's going to continue to make a living, making up for past sins, alright? Besides the Mexican-phobic plot and imagery (tattooed, tanktop-wearing man with guns and Christian crosses are all the rage here), the film feels similar to an Eastwood project ten years prior: Gran Torino, which placed a Hmong community in line/contrast with Eastwood's grouchy, prejudiced lead character.
The stakes feel higher this time around—is that the DEA (lead by Laurence Fishburne and Bradley Cooper) hot on his trail?—and the thriller aspects more potent (he's a good guy doing bad things, you see). It also marks the first time Eastwood will be working with French-Canadien cinematographer Yves Bélanger, a respected industry vet primarily known for his collaborations with director Jean-Marc Vallée (Dallas Buyers Club and Sharp Objects). Will this shakeup awards season as Eastwood films released in December are known to do? That forecast appears likely. Release Date: December 14th, 2018, via Warner Bros.
Pet Sematary (dir. Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer)
Rarely would the phrase "sometimes dead is better" sound warm and welcoming, but such is the case for fans of horror and the work of Stephen King. Based on the 1983 novel and subsequent 1989 film adaptation, Pet Sematary, the devilishly fun telling of a nuclear family whose move to Maine puts them in contact with a backyard cemetery that literally raises the dead, is the latest horror remake that looks flashy and expensive, loud and proud.
This looks a cut above the rest, however, and perhaps that's due to the richness of the plot. The story asks some tough ethical questions—if you had the ability to bring back a loved one from the dead, would you? What if they came back a little "off" and sinister?—and it's to this trailer's credit that the ethos involved in being a competent, upstanding parent explored in the novel appear sustained. The 1989 original film was both creepy and goofy, a soap opera and a slasher flick. This latest incarnation appears more serious in tone, but not without an excellent cast (John Lithgow, Amy Seimetz, and Jason Clarke) and two up-and-coming directors (Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer of Starry Eyes fame). Set to be released the same weekend as Warner Bros./DC's mega-budgeted Shazam!, this could prove a strong alternative to the darkest of hearts. Release Date: April 5th, 2019 via Paramount Pictures.
Aladdin (dir. Guy Ritchie)
The latest in a line of Disney's remaking of their most classic animated films into popular, live-action companion pieces, Aladdin, both a 1992 animated musical and a 2014 Broadway musical, is next up to get the shiny treatment next spring. The teaser trailer hardly gives anything away, and that's much appreciated; when you're working with a brand as iconic as Disney and as memorable as Aladdin, the mere announcement of the film's existence is enough to fuel the hype train.
Brief echoes of the 1992 Academy Award-winning score by Alan Menken are heard over the trailer as we catch a quick glimpse of Aladdin (Mena Massoud) gripping the magic lamp. Just what's in that magic lamp will not be revealed until a later date—we're pretty sure it's the Genie, this time around played by Will Smith—but rest assured it will be something otherworldly. What's most surprising about this trailer arrives in the final moments, the end credits revealing that the director in charge of the production is none other than Guy Ritchie of Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes fame. That's a rather daring choice for the Mouse House, as Ritchie's recent track record hasn't been the strongest in terms of box office grosses. Will his Aladdin break the trend? Release Date: May 24th, 2019 via Walt Disney Pictures.
Rocketman (dir. Dexter Fletcher)
Based kinda on a true story, Rocketman is a film less about Donald Trump's characterization of a certain world leader and more focused on the life and times of Elton John, the renowned British pop star whose career has spanned multiple decades. It's not too much of a stretch to assume that you know who Elton John is, and if you're a fan, you're most likely on board for this biopic that looks both grounded and fantastical. Directed by actor-turned-director Dexter Fletcher (and written by Oscar nominee Lee Hall), the film opens next summer so it may have a few blockbuster intentions yet. Release Date: May 31st, 2019 via Warner Bros.