It’s like a mashup of National Lampoon’s Vacation and, I don’t know, The Beast of Yucca Flats with a little bit of Manos, the Hands of Fate mixed in for good measure. A family goes on vacation only to find themselves stranded in a government-run atomic zone that’s home to mutants who wind up hunting said family. What the movie is really about is continuing the trend of new horror movies featuring beautiful people. Let’s just dive in and see if this one is any good.
It’s a pretty good poster, even if the color scheme is completely stolen from the Saw movies. The hand of a mutant (or a leper) holds down the head of a woman the the tagline, “The Lucky Ones Die First.” (Tribune blogger Steve Johnson makes a nice catch when he points out that the tagline is quite similar to that of the original.) I’m a little surprised it hasn’t gotten more criticism for putting a woman in such a degrading position. Maybe that’s because the woman doesn’t look so much afraid for her life as irritated the mutant didn’t take the garbage out so there’s no sense of her actually being in any peril.
So basically the mutants are the Reavers from Serenity? Because that’s basically how the trailer makes them look as they attack the family as they drive through the New Mexico desert.
Most of the site is by the numbers but there is some interesting stuff. Specifically there’s a lot of material for mobile phones. You can download cellphone wallpaper, sign up for mobile updates or send your friends Emergency Updates on their phones. That’s a lot better than most of the web-based “Send to your friend” features since it goes to where people are and the devices they have with them as opposed to the computers they’ll eventually be at. That’s a good thing.Less good is the so-called fan-site that does appear to have been created by Fox. You can read more about that here.
Better is Fox’s creation of a MySpace page for the movie. It replicates a lot of the official site’s content but with the inbedded viralness of the MySpace community. So far (the day before opening day) it has 27,000+ “friends” that have connected with the entry, including Jason Reitman , who directed another Fox Searchlight flick Thank You For Smoking and a seperate entry for the film’s soundtrack.
While I might love the move from a marketing standpoint, Pete Vonder Haar raises a legitimate issue about utilizing MySpace for promoting a killer mutant horror movie. With the proliferation of news stories warning parents about the dangers of social networking sites maybe this isn’t exactly the genre that could ease their fears. The movie is, after all, rated R and the average age of MySpace users might not be high enough that they could get into the movie.
The movie also got mentioned often on the official Fox Searchlight blog. More on that another day.
It might be a good campaign but it seems to replicate a lot of what previous campaigns have done. I wish I had something more to say about it but there’s just not much material to work with. The best part, in my opinion, is the MySpace usage. The community power of the social networking site is great for spreading the word of a movie. Good idea.
movie marketing, 20th century fox, fox searchlight