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New Trailers on HeadStuff is the place to catch up on all the latest teasers released in the world of Film and TV. Stephen Porzio tells you what’s hot.
Most Anticipated – Servant, Apple TV+
His first project since his polarising conclusion to his long gestating superhero trilogy Glass, M. Night Shyamalan returns to directing (not writing, however) with Apple TV+ series Servant. While the streaming service may struggle to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, if they keep dropping tantalising trailers like this, a monthly subscription may become a must.
Lauren Ambrose and Toby Kebbell star as a married couple who hire a young nanny (Nell Tiger Free, Too Old to Die Young) for their child. While there’s clearly something off about the new help, the situation with the family’s baby is even weirder. I won’t spoil the latter as the reveal in the trailer is one of the most gasp-inducing things I’ve seen all year.
2. The Invisible Man / The Grudge, Dir Leigh Whannell / Nicolas Pesce
Trailers for two noteworthy horror reboots dropped in the past month. Firstly, there’s Leigh Whannell’s new take on iconic property The Invisible Man, one interestingly not from the perspective of the titular figure.
One of the brains behind Insidious and Saw and the writer-director of last year’s incredible action/sci-fi Upgrade, Whannell is one of the most innovative figures working in horror. As such he may be the only person capable of successfully launching Universal’s proposed Dark Universe, a series of films connected by classic villains of which two prior attempts – Dracula Untold and the Tom Cruise starring The Mummy – were colossal critical disappointments.
Cribbing from Paul Verhoeven’s quasi remake of the same story Hollow Man, Whannell’s take on The Invisible Man is that if a male could be invisible he would abuse that power and women with it. Thankfully, however, this time the tale has been given a timely, thrilling update by being framed from the point of view of one of these victims. Elizabeth Moss stars as a woman whose renowned scientist but abusive ex (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) is believed to have died. She comes to learn though that’s not true. Instead, an experiment has made him unable to be seen, enabling him to control and torture his former partner without getting caught.
Less impressive looking is the latest in The Grudge series, spawning from the Japanese Ju-On franchise of horrors. Despite an impressive cast – Andrea Riseborough and John Cho are always delights – this looks like your standard run-of-the-mill haunted house story. This is not helped by the fact that viewers have no doubt grown accustomed to the franchise’s once very scary looking ghosts. Still, Headstuff loved writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s previous work The Eyes of My Mother and Piercing. One hopes he can bring some of his trademark eye-catching imagery and off-kilter weirdness to this famed series.
Meanwhile, also adding to the reboots of classic horror stories are the teasers for the BBC’s three-part Dracula adaptation starring the great Claes Bang and The Turning, a Steven Spielberg executive produced updating of Henry James’ seminal novella The Turn of the Screw featuring Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard and Brooklynn Prince. Watch those trailers here and here.
3. Color Out of Space / Antlers, Dir Richard Stanley / Scott Cooper
For cinephiles craving some more original horror films, the following two teasers should float your boat. First up is Dust Devil and Hardware filmmaker Richard Stanley’s long-awaited return to directing. This is with Color Out of Space, a H.P. Lovecraft adaptation starring Nicolas Cage as a kooky farmer whose family and crops become infected when an asteroid lands on their property.
Having caught an advance screening of this at IFI Horrorthon, we can confirm Color Out of Space is another exciting unique work from Stanley, one that partly feels like a prequel to Annihilation, partly just a bat-shit art instillation. Also, Cage is in Mandy form – his dialed up craziness perfectly in tune with the bonkers movie he is in.
Equally creepy looking is the almost entirely wordless trailer for Antlers, a horror produced by Guillermo del Toro based on a short story from Channel Zero creator Nick Antosca. When a strange mutated creature kept alive by a young boy escapes its confinement, it wreaks havoc on a small Oregon town – endangering a teacher (Keri Russell) and her sheriff brother (Jesse Plemons).
4. Waves / Atlantics, Dir Trey Edward Shults / Mati Diop
Away from horror, two sea-related drama teasers dropped recently. Already one of the most acclaimed films of 2019 on the festival circuit, A24’s Waves stars Kelvin Harrison Jr (from writer-director Shults’ previous film It Comes at Night) as a black high school wrestler in vibrant South Florida. He’s pushed by a loving if domineering father (the great Sterling K. Brown) to be better while trying to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend (Euphoria highlight Alexa Demie). Like other acclaimed A24 release Moonlight, Waves from this teaser feels simultaneously epic and intimate – looking ready to have viewers’ hearts skip a beat.
The other noteworthy coastal themed trailer is for this year’s Cannes Grand Prix winner and upcoming Netflix release Atlantics, dropping November 29 on the streaming service. The debut of writer-director Mati Diop, the supernatural drama is set in Dakar, Senegal along the Atlantic coast. It centres on Ada (Mame Bineta Sane), a woman about to be married but in love with another, Souleiman (Ibrahima Traoré). When the latter disappears, alongside many of the town’s other construction workers, weird events start to occur. Enigmatic and seductive (the mysterious, haunting tagline is ‘Every love story is a ghost story’), Atlantics also looks gorgeous – featuring Claire Mathon as cinematographer, the same DoP as on other 2019 Cannes winner Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
5. Little Joe, Dir Jessica Hausner
Speaking of 2019 Cannes winners, Emily Beecham (if you have not seen 2017’s Daphne, you should change that) picked up a Best Actress award at the festival for sci-fi thriller drama Little Joe. She plays a scientist who creates a genetically modified plant designed to make its owners grow in happiness. As she comes to learn though, it has sinister side effects. This teaser – boasting the film’s sterile environments and its characters’ creepy stilted delivery – leaves it feeling like if Yorgos Lanthimos helmed an Invasion of the Body Snatchers remake aka great.
6. Bombshell, Dir Jay Roach
A group of women (Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie and Nicole Kidman) decide to take on Fox News head Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) and the toxic atmosphere he presided over at the network. Starring three of Hollywood’s finest actresses, telling a timely important story and, going off the trailer, boasting a strong snappy script from The Big Short co-writer Charles Randolph, it looks impossible Bombshell won’t be a major awards season player.
7. Earthquake Bird, Dir Wash Westmoreland
Wash Westmoreland (co-writer and co-director of Still Alice) switches gears with this upcoming mystery thriller, dropping on Netflix November 15. Set in 1980s Tokyo, a young female expat (Alicia Vikander), is suspected of murder when her friend (Riley Keough) goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle. Boasting cinematography from Park Chan-wook’s frequent DoP Chung Chung-hoon, one expects Earthquake Bird will, at least, look great. Plus, while Westmoreland is new to the thriller genre, so was Richard Shepard before delivering the similarly Asian inflected Netflix gem The Perfection earlier this year.
8. The Two Popes / The New Pope, Dir Fernando Meirelles / HBO
Again, two trailers dropped recently revolving around the same topic – this time the papacy. The more buzz-worthy is Netflix film and possible Oscar contender The Two Popes, out December 20 on the platform. In 2012, frustrated with the direction of the church, Cardinal Bergoglio aka the future Pope Francis (Jonathan Pryce) requests permission to retire from Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins).
Despite looking like a tremendous showcase for two legendary actors, I would take the audacious, playful and jaw-droppingly stylish HBO series The Young Pope from 2016 over the weighty portentousness of The Two Popes. Luckily I can continue to do so as a Young Pope sequel series titled The New Pope will be premiering in January 2020.
The first series ended with Jude Law’s sinister, petulant – if capable of good – pontiff Lenny passing out while addressing crowds from the Basilica San Marco in Venice. With him in a coma, now there’s a new pope in town, played by John Malkovich, someone apparently even more volatile than Lenny. However, what will happen when his predecessor awakes? Hopefully more of the profane comedy, deconstructions of prestige TV tropes and cinematic production values which made the first season such an odd delight.
Also premiering January on HBO is an adaptation of Stephen King’s crime thriller/horror The Outsider, starring Jason Bateman, Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo. Watch the teaser for that here.