There’s an art to the movie trailer, although not everyone who constructs a trailer is an artist. The best tell us a story about the film we’re meant to go see, to tell us precisely why we’re meant to spend our precious movie dollars and run off to the theater for a couple of hours (and/or throw $30 at Disney+ for an evening).
For a great movie, you can simply throw together a few of the film’s most impressive shots with a haunting version of a pop song running behind them and, voilà—butts in seats. For a movie that’s not destined to be an instant classic, however, a bit more artistry may be required. Sometimes, that’s in finding an angle from which the film does work and leaning hard into that. And sometimes, it involves an out-and-out deception in suggesting the movie is going to be something entirely other than what it actually is.
Here are some truly great trailers from movies that are troubled, deeply idiosyncratic, niche, or just plain bad.