Over the course of 2012, I’d like to discuss online movie trailers for upcoming major releases.  I’d like to see if a high view count translates into a big opening weekend.  I’d like to discuss the effectiveness of the trailers online.  I’d like to see if the studios are providing extra content online that builds excitement around the movie.  Here we are, it’s the first weekend in January, and I’d like to make a statement that I make with a lot of people: January is a garbage month for movies.  Holdovers from the previous year and movies getting dumped into a non-competitive weekend frame are the norm.  Every once in awhile, though, there’s a gem, and some buck the trend and become hits.

The Devil Inside Has The Weekend Of January 6 All To Itself

Let’s take a look at some of the trailers for The Devil Inside, a horror movie that kicks off the 2012 movie season.  First, we’ll take a look at the official trailer:

The official trailer has over 2 million views on YouTube.  It’s a pretty good trailer, filled with unexpected screams and body distortions.  It’s got the found footage feel, reminiscent of a similar movie called The Last Exorcism from 2010.  Horror movies have been doing this more and more as an effective technique, because it’s a lot scarier when you see a movie that looks like it might have real footage in it as opposed to a slickly produced, obvious Hollywood product.

The marketing has followed Paranormal Activity‘s lead in making the movie something that “audiences have already been spooked by, and who are you to be different?”  Take a look at this TV spot that many of you have probably seen:

This is no surprise, since The Devil Inside comes from Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Paranormal Activity.  The original Paranormal famously made viral history by only being released in certain college towns, and people logging into eventful.com could vote where the movie went next, eventually getting a declaration from Paramount that if the movie got 1 million demands by a certain date, the movie would be released wide.  Obviously, it achieved that goal and made nearly $200 million worldwide during it’s run.

But perhaps that’s not good enough for some horror fans.  Well, Paramount also has a longer red band trailer for The Devil Inside.  One with a little bit of (subtitled) bad language and a lot more blood.  In case you didn’t quite register that, this red band trailer contains content that is violent and involves some swearing:

It’s always good for an R-rated movie to show some extra stuff that usually isn’t going to be seen in theatres and never on TV so that the more hardcore audience can get a better glimpse of what the movie is about.

The Take On The Devil Inside

My first take is that overall, this looks pretty creepy and should scare audiences enough for a successful opening weekend.  The January release is bothersome, but since Paramount released Paranormal Activity 3 for October and Halloween, they probably wanted to avoid having these two movies anywhere near each other.  With no competition, this is a good time for a release.

The movie was directed by William Brent Bell, who last directed a film in 2006 with Stay Alive, the online video game horror movie that wasn’t very good.  But this is a completely different style of horror film so we’ll see how it goes.