One of the finer unappreciated talents of filmmakers is the ability to deliver a captivating and anticipation-building teaser trailer. Now, to be specific, a teaser trailer is what is released prior to the first trailer for the movie, to plant the initial seed of the film and raise some curiosity about the movie.
We tracked down 5 of our favourite teaser trailers from recent years – those that don’t spoil every surprise and scene in the movie but, instead, make you need to see more.
The phrase “less is more” might not be typically associated with Michael Bay’s frenetic Transformers franchise but in the very early stages, things were a tad more restrained. This found footage-y original teaser for the first film gave us a tantalising glimpse of what was to come without showing us that much.
Gareth Edwards’ Godzilla reboot was one of the standout films of 2014, but what also made it so great was the level of secrecy and suspense leading up to its release. No images, posters, or promotional material showed Godzilla, and the film itself doesn’t even show the iconic giant lizard until about half way through, and the teaser trailer shared that concept. It excellently captured the scale and tone of the movie, while also showcasing the human side of the disaster taking place.
What makes it even more harrowing is the audio recording of J. Robert Oppenheimer, ‘the father of the atomic bomb’, reading the “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds,” verse from the Bhagavad Gita Hindu scriptures. Haunting stuff.
Man of Steel (2013)
Arguably one of the best teasers ever made. Zack Snyder hit it out of the park with Man of Steel‘s initial footage to reveal the feel and tone of his adaptation of the story of Superman. The teaser itself is a mixture of footage from the film as well as some additionally shot scenes, showing Clark Kent as a young boy. The synonymous fists-on-hips pose alongside the backdrop of Russell Crowe’s voice over is chill-inducing, and with the breathtaking score of Howard Shore’s “The Bridge of Khazad Dum” playing in the background, you don’t get much better than this.
Super 8 (2011)
JJ Abrams has always been extremely cryptic with his trailers and movie projects, and 2011’s sci-fi thriller Super 8 featured easily one of the best viral marketing campaigns around. There were no details of the film or plot, besides the fact that fans knew it would feature a creature of some sorts. The trailer gave the premise of a section of Area 51 being closed down in 1979 and its contents being transported by freight train to Ohio. A pickup truck drives into the oncoming train, derailing it, and one of the carriages is smashed open while a Super 8 camera films. It was powerful, unexpected, and piqued our interest beyond imagination.
Red Eye (2005)
The early 2000s were full of predictable romantic comedies with cheesy trailers that crammed the (often painfully generic) film plots into a minute or two. The teaser trailer for Wes Craven’s Red Eye played upon this genre troupe, showing two attractive strangers (Rachel McAdams and Cillian Murphy) having a chance meeting in an airport, alluding to a possible romantic rendezvous later in the film. But, any Wes Craven fan will know, nothing is at it seems, and the teaser takes an unnerving turn that sets the stage for the incredibly underrated horror film.
What are your favourite movie teaser trailers? Let us know in the comments section below…