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Trailer Round-Up – December 3, 2016

"Spectral, The Shack, The Belko Experiment, Surf's Up 2: Wavemania"

Note: The first Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 trailer will be released later today – unfortunately, due to timezone differences, it will be pretty late at night in the UK when it comes out. As such, the trailer will be covered in next week’s Trailer Round-Up instead.

Spectral

Starring James Badge Dale, Emily Mortimer and Bruce Greenwood, Spectral follows a brilliant DARPA scientist who goes on a deadly mission with a Special Ops team of Delta Force soldiers into a war-torn city where mysterious phantom aggressors code-named Spectral have been causing inexplicable civilians deaths. Directed by Nic Mathieu with a screenplay written by Ian Fried, John Gatins, and George Nolfi.

There’s a hint of Aliens to the setup in Spectral, only instead of the dreaded xenomorphs, the battle-hardened soldiers are facing deadly phantoms. This is a solid premise for a B-list, cheesy action movie and the trailer makes it seem like good fun – that being said, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I’d rather play it as a video game than watch it as a movie.

Spectral is set for release in cinemas and on Netflix on December 9, 2016.

The Shack

Based on the New York Times best-selling novel, The Shack (directed by Stuart Hazeldine and written by John Fusco) takes us on a father’s uplifting spiritual journey. After suffering a family tragedy, Mack Phillips (Sam Worthington) spirals into a deep depression causing him to question his innermost beliefs. Facing a crisis of faith, he receives a mysterious letter urging him to an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Despite his doubts, Mack journeys to the shack and encounters an enigmatic trio of strangers led by a woman named Papa (Octavia Spencer). Through this meeting, Mack finds important truths that will transform his understanding of his tragedy and change his life forever.

I don’t understand the recent trend of having a trailer open with a short preview for itself. Separate teasers for trailers are one thing, but if I’ve already clicked on the video, then I’m already watching the trailer, aren’t I? That aside, the trailer for The Shack itself is a bit odd. It’s an intriguing premise that runs the risk of succumbing to overt sentimentality and Sam Worthington doesn’t quite seem up to the demands of the role, but there is something about it that possibly warrants a closer look. Maybe it’s the mystery of the titular shack?

The Shack is set for a March 3, 2017 release.

The Belko Experiment

Directed by Greg McLean with a script from James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy), The Belko Experiment follows a group of 80 people that are locked in their high-rise corporate office in Bogota, Colombia and ordered by an unknown voice coming from the company’s intercom system to participate in a deadly game of kill or be killed. The cast includes John Gallagher Jr., Melonie Diaz, John C. McGinley, Tony Goldwyn, David Dastmalchian, Gail Bean, Michael Rooker, Valentine Miele, Sean Gunn, Mikaela Hoover, Josh Brener, Rusty Schwimmer, Joe Fria, James Earl, Brent Sexton , Stephen Blackehart, David Del Rio and Ben Davis.

Now this looks like excellent, gory B-movie fun. It’s not a particularly original idea and even structurally it seems to threading on familiar ground, but the real hook of The Belko Experiment is the promise of no-holds-barred action, violence and thrills. This looks like exactly what it says on the tin, in the best way possible.

The Belko Experiment is set for a March 14, 2017 release.

Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania

In the sequel to 2007’s Academy Award nominated Surf’s Up, Cody Maverick, hungry for a new challenge, convinces an infamous big-wave-riding crew known as The Hang 5, voiced by WWE Superstars John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H, WWE Diva Paige and Mr. McMahon, to let him join them on their journey to a mysterious surf spot known as The Trenches, where, legend has it, they’ll find the biggest waves in the world. Cody soon discovers that the life he left behind might be more heroic than what any death-defying wave has to offer. Directed by Henry Yu, Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania is based on a screenplay by Abdul Williams.

There is something very stiff and awkward about the animation of Surf’s Up 2: Wavemania. Characters, even when moving can appear oddly static and that’s not helped by the dullness some of the voice actors seem to be bringing to their performances. It doesn’t look terrible, but neither does it look particularly impressive or noteworthy. Still, fans of the WWE superstars in the cast might find something to enjoy – it seems harmless enough.

Surf’s Up 2: WaveMania is set for a direct-to-video release on January 17, 2017.

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