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The Best Movie Trailers of 2016

Who doesn’t love a good trailer? A finely-tuned trailer can turn your lack of interest in a film into full-fledged fanaticism. In some extreme cases, the trailer for a film can even end up being better than the film itself (recent examples include Godzilla and Man of Steel). Sure, there are some who will shun a trailer for fear of spoilers. But I’m a proponent of a teasers, trailers, and more. Which is why I’ve highlighted the Best Movie Trailers of 2016. The criteria: the trailer had to have first appeared in 2016. Even if the release date of the film being advertised is beyond 2016, it can qualify as long as it debuted this year. Similarly, trailers that appeared first in 2015 for films released this year would not qualify. And on that note, let’s take a look at the Best Movie Trailers of 2016.


10. STAR TREK BEYOND

This is a somewhat controversial pick, simply because fans were displeased when this trailer for Star Trek Beyond debuted. Even co-writer and co-star Simon Pegg said he “didn’t love it” when pressed. Most seemed to take umbrage at the use of the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage”, which, intermingled with a light, almost jokey attitude, caused fans to cry that Star Trek was simply aping the formula of the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer. That may be true — after Star Trek Into Darkness it was clear that the powers that be wanted to lighten the franchise up a bit. But gosh darn it, it works. This trailer is fun, and “Sabotage” works perfectly against the footage.

 

9. ALWAYS SHINE

Like the film itself, the trailer for Always Shine is steeped in dread, anxiety and boiling resentment. Like trailers for last year’s similarly-themed Queen of Earth, there’s a hint of retro psychological thriller here — think Let’s Scare Jessica to Death. But there’s also a very modern edge. It sells the film perfectly without giving away just how complex and mind-blowing the film itself is, and that’s not an easy feat.

 

8. SWISS ARMY MAN

Swiss Army Man caused a stir at Sundance where it quickly became known as the “Daniel Radcliffe Farting Corpse Movie.” Those of us not lucky enough to attend Sundance had to wait and wonder just what the hell this movie was like, and when we got our first glimpse via a trailer, we were not disappointed. This trailer is wild, and not at all shy about hiding Daniel Radcliffe’s farting corpse. Underscored with Andy Hull and Robert McDowell’s stirring soundtrack, this is the perfect way to sell your existential farting corpse movie.

 

7. LOGAN

Remember that bit in the introduction where I said a really good trailer can turn a general disinterest in a film into excitement? This trailer for Logan is exactly what I was referring to. I’ll be blunt: I think the majority of the X-Men films are dull, and I have no real interest in the spin-off Wolverine films. But this moody, wonderfully edited trailer for Logan, scored to Johnny Cash’s cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”, caught my attention. Hugh Jackman’s bearded and bleary-eyed Logan caring for Patrick Stewart’s frail Professor X already has me a little misty-eyed, as does the quick scene where Logan, the Professor and a young mutant girl played by Sienna Novikov sit around a dinner table exchanging amused glances. It’s little character moments like that that can get me interested in your comic book movie, and this trailer wonderfully sets them up.

 

6. GET OUT

There’s something incredibly exciting about a horror film with ideas. Horror, like any genre, is easily cheapened and watered-down courtesy of unimaginative filmmakers following whatever trend might currently be popular. But this trailer for Jordan Peele’s first foray into horror is different — it’s weird, it’s wild, and most of all, it looks like it’s about something. Horror is always best when it’s reflecting social issues, and this film — which looks like Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner meets Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, might be the first great horror film of the dreadful Trump Presidency era.

5. 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

Remember Michael Bay’s 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi? Probably not, since it underperformed and vanished from theaters! But if you do remember it at all, you likely remember that the buzz surrounding the film’s opening weekend wasn’t about the film itself, but rather a surprise trailer that debuted with it: the trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane. No one had been expecting it, and it suddenly appeared as if there was a secret sequel to Cloverfield mere months away from release. The trailer is appropriately mysterious and vague while setting up ominous things to come. This is the type of stuff that gets me excited about new movies.

 

4. LA LA LAND

Damien Chazelle’s lovely, somewhat sad musical first made itself known to the general public courtesy of this gorgeous-looking teaser trailer. As Ryan Gosling sings “City of Stars”, we’re treated to one breathtaking bit of imagery after another — Gosling and co-star Emma Stone waltzing up into the stars; Stone and her roommates dancing through their apartment in color-corrected dresses; a character diving from a balcony and splashing into a pool. And cutting through all of it is the gorgeous, dreamy L.A. that Chazelle’s film conjures.

 

3. MOONLIGHT

The trailer for Moonlight — the best film of 2016, in my humble opinion — came at the tail-end of a rather dreadful summer movie season. Just when bloggers were ready to decry the “Death of Movies”, the beautiful trailer for Moonlight came along to say “Not so fast.” This trailer plays things close to the chest, keeping the majority of the film’s emotional beat secret. But Barry Jenkins’ and cinematographer James Laxton’s stunning imagery is so alluring that it takes your breath away.  

 

2. JACKIE

This trailer is chill-inducing in all the right ways. The look, the editing, the glorious use of music from Camelot. Put this teaser trailer in an art museum, please. I will go visit it and weep.

 

1. SILENCE

There’s something wonderful about the fact that the trailer for a new Martin Scorsese movie can garner the same amount of hype and excitement as the latest Marvel or Star Wars trailer. Film fans were abuzz wondering when Marty would deliver his Silence trailer as we got closer and closer to a release date without seeing any footage. And then the trailer dropped — accidentally, in fact. But the cat was out of the bag, and the trailer spread far and wide, gathering praise in the process. Intense, tightly wound and loaded with the kind of haunting Christian imagery that Scorsese has spent a career cultivating, the trailer for Silence was both exciting and proof positive that even at 74-years-old, Mr. Scorsese is still firing on all cylinders.

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Chris Evangelista is Executive Editor of Cut Print Film & co-host of the Cut Print Film Podcast. He's also contributed to The Playlist, Paste Magazine, Little White Lies and O-Scope Musings. 'The House on Creep Street' and 'Beware the Monstrous Manther!', two horror books for young readers Chris co-authored with J. Tonzelli, are available wherever books are sold. You can follow him on Twitter @cevangelista413

  • ictict

    Be honest Chris, you secretly wanted to put the Suicide Squad Comic-Con trailer on here.