If you’ve avoided Trailer #2, we urge you to also avoid this article.
Ah, studio marketing. Whenever a big new movie is on the horizon, we’re hit with *at least* one teaser and *at least* two trailers, and studios tend to not be very careful when it comes to what they decide to show us. Of course, one could argue that most times they’re probably willfully reckless, using the most exciting clips and reveals to entice us to spend our money on their movies. Movie trailers are a tricky thing, to be sure, a sort of balancing act between showing enough but not too much; but sometimes those reveals are downright inexcusable.
Take, as our most recent example, the second trailer for this year’s Pet Sematary, released by Paramount this morning. As second trailers often are, Trailer #2 was packed with more story reveals than Trailer #1, most notably the spoiler-heavy reveal that it’s not little Gage Creed who gets run over and subsequently resurrected in the titular Pet Sematary, but rather Gage’s older sister, Ellie Creed. Of course, in both Stephen King’s novel and Mary Lambert’s 1989 movie, that was the role filled by Gage, so that’s a pretty big twist for Pet Sematary fans.
Mind you, we’re not talking a final act reveal – and one could argue, as many have today, that the “twist” is only actually a twist for those who go into the movie already familiar with King’s novel and/or Lambert’s film – but it’s nevertheless a bummer that this surprising little character swap was revealed to us today, a full two months before we buy our tickets.
Had they waited, well, we could’ve been genuinely surprised come April, and that major deviation would’ve been pretty cool to discover on our own. As BD reader “Bbq76” let us know today, “I saw a test screening and the twist hit me like a ton of bricks.” He added, “In the survey I urged them not to spoil it in the trailer. I guess marketing figured it would help sell the movie.”
Now the argument could be made that it wouldn’t be possible for Paramount to properly convey the movie’s storyline without spoiling this little “twist” – which again, is more of a full-on story point than a surprise, final act reveal – but we need only revisit this very film’s first trailer to see that this argument doesn’t actually hold all that much water.
Trailer #1, you realize in hindsight, worked overtime to hide the Gage/Ellie swap. Watching it back today, in fact, it’s quite impressive how well Trailer #1 retained the secret, cut together in such a way that it strongly hinted at the expected demise of Gage. At one point, a clip of the oil tanker speeding down the road is cut together with audio of Jason Clarke’s Louis Creed screaming out his son’s name in abject horror, and Ellie Creed – who we now realize is one of the main villains in the movie – is smartly kept out of the trailer almost entirely.
To be clear, I personally approve of the storytelling change, as it should give 2019’s Pet Sematary a different personality than the 1989 version (after all, who wants to see the same exact movie we’ve already seen before?), but I just can’t shake the feeling that it sure would be nice to be surprised once in a while in the theater, rather than while watching a trailer at home.
In any event, revisit Trailer #1 below. And take note of how cleverly it was put together.
Return to the Pet Sematary on April 5, 2019.