A good horror trailer is rare. The vast majority of them rely on quick edits, flashes and jump scares, none of which are really “scary.” Usually, neither is the movie they’re promoting. The new trailer for indie distributor A24’s Hereditary is different. If you’re a fan of frights, this is a must watch.
The masterclass horror trailers, the truly rare ones, manage to unnerve and frighten without actually showing anything revealing — they’re just edited that good. The gold standard remains 1979’s Alien trailer — abstract images of a chicken egg, shots of astronauts running down corridors, and the famous “siren” melody all combine in just the right way to produce an unforgettable sixty seconds. And you never see the alien once.
Hereditary‘s trailer isn’t quite THAT good, but it’s several notches above a typical promotion. There isn’t much here on the surface that sets the movie apart — a grandmother dies, and afterward spooooky stuff starts happening. But it’s all in the presentation. Unexplained shots of a dollhouse, strange behavior and some seriously unnerving background tunes sell the picture very well.
The movie is finished and already screened at Sundance, and early buzz suggests it’s really as creepy as this trailer makes it out to be. In the words of AV Club’s AA Dowd, “This isn’t a scary movie. It’s pure emotional terrorism, gripping you with real horror, the unspeakable kind, and then imbuing the supernatural stuff with those feelings. It didn’t play me like a fiddle. It slammed on my insides like a grand piano.” What more do you need to know?
Hereditary gets a wide release June 8.