Trailer Takes: <i>Salt and Fire</i>, <i>Rough Night</i>, and <i>The Void</i>

Trailer Takes: Salt and Fire, Rough Night, and The Void


Salt and Fire:

Eman: I must start off by saying that Michael Shannon is one of the most interesting actors in cinema to me. I love all the acting work he does and I genuinely think he’s probably a bit crazy in real life. Director Werner Herzog is undoubtedly a weirdo in real life too. So I guess they kinda fit in with whatever Salt and Fire is. Rarely do we find ourselves with a trailer that actually gives way too little, but a trip to IMDb tells me this rodeo is about ecological corporate corruption against the backdrop of an impending volcano eruption. You can color me intrigued purely because I’m inherently a super curious guy. The blinding visual and vast blankness of the salt flats totally sticks with me five minutes after watching this trailer. But I don’t think that I (or anyone really) will be remembering it any longer than that.

Graham: Werner Herzog, for me, is in the same category of directors as Lars von Trier and Paul Thomas Anderson where I’m never quite sure what their movies are supposed to be at first glance. I can’t tell you what Salt and Fire is about, but I dig the visual style, the mysterious narration, and Michael Shannon. I love the shot of the cars driving towards the mountain (or volcano?) in the distance—the colors contrast brilliantly and the mountain looms forebodingly over the oncoming vehicles. I’m definitely interested to see where this film is going, although I have a feeling that the narration about perception vs. reality might be a misdirection and the film might deal in far more mundane subject matter.

Emily: Besides some pretty impressive landscapes, nothing really stands out to me about this trailer. There are the standard intimations of action — a few shocked faces, some people being held at gunpoint, and so on — but none of these images suggest anything original or depart from the standard action film. I was a lot more intrigued after reading the two-sentence synopsis on IMDb, so maybe the trailer would have been more effective with greater emphasis on the science-versus-corporation aspect of the film, beyond the single brief mention of “data.” Based on summaries, it seems like this film has some potential, but the trailer alone certainly doesn’t convince me to see it.

Rough Night:

Eman: Allow me to lead you through my thoughts as I watched this trailer: The Hangover with women, huh? Okay maybe not exactly, but totally going for the audience of Bad Moms. Yup, of course there has to be a slightly heavier character who’s a little crazier than everyone else but has the most fun. HOLY SHIT THAT GUY DIED! Wow, they really committed to this conventional build up to then subvert the expectations. Oh wait, no it’s going back to Bad Moms territory. End thoughts: This is totally not my wheelhouse and I don’t think I laughed once. But I was immediately fascinated when it seemed like the death of that stripper would flip the genre of this film – that would be bold! But alas, we return to conventions. Hey, Bad Moms made a lot of money and was quite a success story for STX last year. This will definitely be doubling down on trying to get that crowd. Well… I’m not in that crowd.

Graham: So that was unexpected. Until the twist in the trailer, I had zero interest in the film. I am in the minority when I say that I never found The Hangover or its sequels particularly funny, and I think that the trope of thirty-somethings getting high and drunk and then engaging in various shenanigans has been played out. But the dead body is a great twist on a rote formula. I actually laughed out loud at a couple of parts towards the end of the trailer, and the movie seems to not take itself too seriously, which could be comedy gold. Also, Scarlett Johansson is good in anything.

Emily: As with Eman and Graham, this trailer didn’t remotely impress me before the sudden twist and even then, I was only slightly more interested. I’ve been a fan of Kate McKinnon since her impressions on Saturday Night Live, and Scarlett Johannson is sure to perform well, but the tone of the movie is incredibly limiting given the number of movies that act within the same frame. The surprise death adds an exciting twist of originality, which might be enough for the movie to be entertaining, but only to the extent that I might rent the movie later on when there’s nothing else to see — I’m not rushing out to theaters for this one.

The Void:

Eman: I like triangles. We like triangles. There’s psychological reasoning for why the artistic composition of triangles is so appealing to the eye and mind, but I won’t delve into that. This movie totally loves the triangles too. At first, it seems as though The Void is on a quest to exploit the triangle. It feels like a VOD release, or something made by an impressionable first timer who yearns to be seen as an auteur. The cult aspect seems cheesy from the get-go, I’ll say, but the makeup and gore effects (and whatnot) are actually incredibly impressive later on in the trailer. The Lovecraftian vibes are strong, too. But The Void seems weird enough to alienate even the strongest of horror fans. There’s obviously some talent to be reaped here, evident from quick shots in the last third of the trailer. I just hope these guys get a real chance to show what they’re capable of.

Graham: Is that James Spader’s voice in the background? Anyway, there’s a ton going on in this trailer. Every time I thought I had the film’s story down, the trailer brought in a new development. I love films that mesh genres well, and this seems like a great horror/slasher thriller with a mix of science fiction. I love the idea of a group of strangers trapped in a building surrounded by enemies, even if it’s not the most original story idea. The shots of the sky are particularly foreboding, but I’m not a huge fan of the heavy amounts of gore; is that really necessary? I’m definitely intrigued by the trailer, but parts felt too excessive, and I hope that doesn’t carry over into the film.

Emily: The Void could take just about any direction from here, as far as quality is concerned. It’s pretty clear that the film is going to be some sort of supernatural, horror thriller with some element of mystery and investigation, but it’s essential value is going to stem from its focus: either the mysteries and complexities, or the special effects and gore. If The Void takes the former route, it could definitely be a worthwhile film, but if the actual movie is as haphazard as the trailer and banks on the special effects and its primary draw, then it will achieve very little success overall.

Image Credits: IMDb

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