The found footage genre is the cinematic equivalent of a jack in the box. Aside from the fact that there is no way to know if such a film will work until it’s released and that audiences can see the entire film, but often, their effectiveness is based on how good the windup is. So while the trailer for The Dark Tapes seems to deliver the goods, using many of same tropes that made the Paranormal Activity films so effective (essentially those films have become the standards by which films in this genre are to be judged) have be mixed with more “payoff” shots, as it show things, such as creature shots and maybe a few scares that won’t hit until the last act of the film, to deliver a trailer that should lure found footage horror fans to this film. The question is: did this trailer show too much?
Well, it’s hard to tell before seeing it. Even as someone who is not a huge fan of the genre (though I did like the original Blair Witch Project as the standard bearer, and Devil’s Pass for it’s deftly handled twist), and as someone who feel that “less is more” in terms of what we see in a horror film, I found the trailer to be quite good. Amidst a lot of critical blurbs, each shot that is picked is framed well, and there is considerable tension here even before we get to the real scares that dominate the last 4o-some seconds of the trailer. There are some impressive visual effects here, yet (as is the goal) there is a raw sensibility to how the trailer appears. There’s a lot shots here, including one of a woman in lingerie that seems to be inserted from a different film, but it makes me that much more interested in how these scenes are actually connected. In the end, isn’t that what a trailer is supposed to do?