The first trailer we saw for James Wan’s (Saw, Insidious) upcoming horror film, The Conjuring, didn’t really hit all the usual beats that horror trailers do. Instead it played much more like a short film, building to a big scare in the end. It was an effective tactic that really sold the movie as something that was going to scare the pants off you.
So it’s pretty head-scratching as to why the approach was completely abandoned for this new ad for the film, which is just about as generic as a horror movie trailer can get, even while going completely over the top with what it gives away. It opens with some faux found footage that looks derivative of every bad horror movie that’s come out over the last five years, moves on to the same invisible-ghost-yanking-the-legs-of-sleeping-people trick that the Paranormal Activity movies have driven into the ground, checks the creepy kids box off of its list, and then goes on to show way more special effects craziness than probably even the feature itself should contain. The rule of that which you don’t see being scarier than that which you do see seems to be completely thrown out of the window here.
Suddenly The Conjuring has gone from looking like a promising haunted house story with a throwback approach to looking like a completely skippable modern horror dud. Or maybe it doesn’t. Maybe now it looks like the kind of thing that mainstream audiences are going to eat up. They do so love the familiar. You should check out the new trailer and decide for yourself though, because even if you don’t like what you see regarding the scares, you’re bound to enjoy Patrick Wilson’s ridiculous sideburns. They’re pretty boss.