Monday, October 1, 2012

Movie Trailers that Give Away the Ending

First of all, let me say Happy October, faithful readers! Can you believe it's finally here? Let's get to the semi-quasi-Halloween-related weekly posts!

 So I just saw this trailer for a horror movie called The Bay:

And while I roll my eyes at almost every "found footage film" these days, it was the ending of this trailer that caught my attention. It's not that the final few seconds of this trailer are amazing or even original -- movie trailer viewers expect this kind of stinger these days -- but it reminded me of a horror movie trailer I saw a few years ago:

Now, Quarantine wasn't a horrible film, but this trailer is particularly notorious because ***spoiler alert*** the last shot in the trailer is, in fact, the last shot of the film. Yup. Quarantine ends with that girl getting dragged off into the darkness. It's not a very good ending, but it's what you can expect from the run-of-the-mill found footage films. But why would the trailer makers decide to spoil the ending like that? Probably because it's one of the few memorable shots in the film. However, the ending loses 86% of its power if you've seen the trailer already.

And I have a feeling that the last shot of The Bay trailer is the same story. I haven't seen it yet, so technically that isn't a spoiler, but I'm willing to bet that the final shot of that woman in the car with the zombie-like creature popping up is how the film ends. Anyone want to take me up on that bet?

Anyway, The Bay trailer and its possible relationship to Quarantine led me to think about other movie trailers that give away the ending. Needless to say, this post deserves this kind of disclaimer:


Now, I haven't seen Apparition yet (I've been cautioned by a couple of friends to avoid it, in fact), but I was told that, once again, the last clip of the trailer is, in fact, how the movie ends. Take a look:

So the film apparently ends with a bunch of zombie hands groping Ashley Greene. But the filmmakers didn't stop there; they also spoiled the ending in the poster.


Now, lest you think that this spoiler-trailer-y thing only applies to horror films. Check out this family-friendly classic from the 90s:

Yup. The most iconic shot of Free Willy is, in fact, the moment at the end of the movie when the killer whale is let loose on the open waters once more. And, once again, it's spoiled by the poster as well as the trailer. But, I guess with a title like "Free Willy," you can probably guess that Willy is going to be free at some point in the film.

Back to horror:

Now, I like Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, but I was disappointed by how many deaths were spoiled in the trailer. There are seven people in that group of teens, and the trailer shows how six of them are killed. "But, The Former 786," you exclaim loudly, "this trailer doesn't give away the ending! Why would you include it on this post?" A fair question, faithful reader. My answer is that it's my blog and I can do what I want. Boo-yah.

But let's back to the point at hand:

To be honest, Carrie comes from a time when people were just starting to understand what a movie trailer should be. In the early days of film until about the mid-60s, movie trailers were much longer, much more boring and gave away almost the entire plot of the movie. Still, this movie would have been much more effective on viewers if they didn't know that a blood-soaked Carrie went telekinetically berserk on a room full of prom goers. However, if it wasn't for that part of the trailer, a lot of men probably wouldn't have gone to see it because it would just look like an angsty awkward teen girl film.

But Carrie doesn't give away the stinger ending where ***do I really need to say "spoiler alert" again?*** Carrie's dead hand shoots up from her grave and grabs Sue's arm, So it doesn't give away everything -- that honor belongs to this movie trailer:

Let me just run through how this trailer would play out with someone that hasn't seen the movie yet:

"Yikes! I wonder if he survives that plane crash! Oh. . .I guess he does."

"Hmmm. I wonder if a guy like Tom Hanks could survive on an island like that. Oh. . .I guess he can."

"Ha! He made fire."

"Whoa! He's skinny! I wonder if he's going to try and get off that island. Oh. . .I guess he does."

"I wonder how long he was on that island for. Oh. . .four years."

"And I guess since that guy on the plane is talking to him about getting off the island. . .he must get off the island at some point. Probably four years after he got there."

"It'd probably be hard to adjust to normal life after being on a desert island for four years. Yup. I was right." 

"Oh yeah! Helen Hunt! I wonder if they're going to work out. Well. . .based on her new haircut, probably not."

And then the end of the trailer shows us the very last shot of the film, with Tom Hanks standing at the crossroads, pondering what to do with his life. But Robert Zemeckis probably figured it didn't matter if he gave away the ENTIRE PLOT in the trailer, because people would go see it anyway. And they did.

So, there you have it. These are just a few of the movie trailers that ruin the ending of a film. I'm sure there are others, but I didn't want to dig around too much more on this subject. I don't like getting spoilers for movies I haven't seen. Like that time, years ago, when I mentioned that I wanted to see The Sixth Sense to someone else who hadn't seen the movie (thinking I was safe) and he replied, "Oh, is that the movie where Bruce Willis has a big ol' shotgun wound in his back at the end and you find out he's been dead the whole time?". . . . .



mormonmovieguy said...

Excellent post. One of my best friends refuses to watch trailers for movies he knows he'll watch, as he wants to go in to it with fresh eyes. I admire him; I'm just not that strong.

The Former 786 said...

I always love it when I go into a movie having no idea what it's about (like Unbreakable, for example), but, yeah, I'm with you, I normally watch the trailer.