Trailer Trickery: 10 of the Most Misleading Movie Trailers

Trailers can make or break a movie’s success. Sometimes the trailers are so artfully done and enticing, the film may be a let down. There are also trailers that give too much away, whether it be every plot point or the best jokes. Then there are the trailers that are so misleading, it makes viewers wonder if the studio ever watched the movie. Here are 10 of the most misleading Movie trailers ever.

1. Drive

Ryan Gosling Drive

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The trailer for Drive looks like it must be some Fast and the Furious-like car racing movie. Ryan Gosling revs his engine, shifts his gears, and talks about his talent behind the wheel. It seems that every scene of Gosling in a car from the movie is shown in the trailer.

The actual movie is nothing like the Paul Walker/Vin Diesel franchise, but rather a drama that gets out of control. Gosling falls in love but gets into some violent interactions and the entire film is a bit whacked. Drive is definitely a film that has incredibly thrilling and nerve-racking moments but it delves much deeper than a typical race car movie.

2. Catfish

Catfish Quad

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The trailer for 2010’s Catfish starts out as a documentary in which we follow a young guy named Nev who is smitten with a girl he met on the internet. More and more it seems this girl, Megan, is almost too perfect but, perhaps, this is a love story for the modern age. The trailer then drops some creepy music and a few quotes from critics that suggest the film includes a mystery and that everything we thought was true was not true about his mysterious girl. Judging from the trailer, audiences may assume that the “twist” ending is something terrifying. Does Nev get killed by this so-called internet dream girl? Is it all a way to lure the entire documentary crew to a barn to murder them?

The actual movie builds interest based on what we have seen in the trailer. Each scene that signals suspicious elements from the Megan girl draw us further in, but the ending isn’t so much a twist as it is a disappointment. The woman pretending to be Megan is just a depressed overweight woman. Someone pretending they are someone they are not while online is not exactly a shocker.

3. Click

Click (2006) Quad

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The trailer for Click shows a typical stupid Adam Sandler comedy with the magical element of a remote control that allows him to move back and forward in time. The trailer is filled with easy jokes and slapstick humor.

The actual film has all of those dumb jokes and pratfalls but it’s also a bit more serious and touches on what happens in life when we want to rush past the sticky unpleasant parts. Sandler’s character is so worried about balancing his hectic job and family life that he uses the remote as a tool to fast forward to a better time. While doing this, he ends up so far into the future that he missed his two small children growing up. Click is much more emotional, sweet and even sad than the trailer would have audiences believe.

4. Red Eye

Red Eye Wallpaper

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Red Eye has one of those trailers, many of which came out in the 2000s, that implies the villain of the movie is something supernatural and audiences are in for a horror treat. Red Eye goes a step further by promoting the fact that the film is by horror legend Wes Craven. In the teaser, editors blatantly place special effects on Cillian Murphy’s eye to make it red. It appear that he is a demon of some sort and poor Rachel McAdams is in trouble.

The actual film has nothing to do with a demon. Murphy is just your average bad guy who takes McAdams hostage. There is nothing supernatural about any of it. The second trailer may be even worse. It does not suggest to audiences that Red Eye is about a demon but it does look like a Lifetime movie about a young woman who thinks she has met a nice man only to realize he is a bit nuts. The horrible promotion and marketing must be to blame for Red Eye bombing at the Box-Office.

5. The Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods Quad

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The trailer for The Cabin in the Woods does give enough information to suggest that it may not be a completely generic horror film as the titular cabin seems to be controlled by something or someone. Those moments may not stand out for viewers who haven’t seen the film which would make the trailer misleading. There is a lot of horror in the preview but not nearly as much humor as the film generates. Basically, the trailer shows another horror film with attractive actors and the possibility of being better quality than the average slice-and-dice flicks simply because it comes from Joss Whedon.

The actual film is hilarious, entertaining, and gives enough scares to satisfy horror fans. Bradley Whitford and Richard Jenkins have some of the best scenes as the men in charge of the entire spectacle. There are also appearances by Whedon regulars, Amy Acker and Tom Lenk along with Fran Kranz.

6. Magic Mike

Magic Mike (2012)

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The clips for Magic Mike is kind of brilliant as it markets to those who want to see a bunch of attractive men dancing, with a fairly fun and light trailer. It also showcases Channing Tatum's undeniable charm and a glimpse at a few other shirtless men like Matthew McConaughey.

The actual film is better than it should be. The marketing was successful but it also failed to mention that Magic Mike is not a brainless film about a stripper. It shows Mike’s dream of making furniture but there is so much more to it than what the trailer depicts. The relationships off the stipping stage are also vital to the overall quality of the film but the trailer barely sheds light on that or the fact that it is by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh.

7. Lost in Translation

Lost in Translation

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The trailer for Lost in Translation makes it seem like a fish-out-of-water comedy about an actor working in a foreign country and all of the comical misunderstandings that happen along the way. It’s Bill Murray being his funny self and includes Scarlett Johansson as his partner in crime as they journey through Tokyo.

The actual film has a lot of humor but it is much more emotional and realistic than the trailer would let you think. The film is about loneliness, and the absurdity of growing up because no one really knows what they are doing.

8. The Ice Storm

The Ice Storm

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The trailer gives the film a whimsical and warmhearted appearance. The voice-over actor is an odd choice for the film and may be a major the reason the trailer’s tone is completely different from the film. The trailer tells a story of two families who interact and learn from each other in the early 1970s. It all feels nostalgic and typically American. The scene in which Christina Ricci gives her cynical speech about Thanksgiving feeling reminiscent of a scene in Addams Family Values.

The film is a bit of a bummer. There is a lot more drama, more inappropriate and uncomfortable relationships and, spoiler alert, Elijah Wood dies. That being said, the film is much better than the trailer as it has many layers, fine performances and is beautifully filmed by Ang Lee.

9. Angel Eyes

After the release of films like The Sixth Sense and just months before the release of The Others, audiences were given a trailer that appeared to be a similar ghost or unnatural story. Jennifer Lopez is a cop who develops a relationship with pre-Jesus Jim Caviezel only to discover that he doesn’t seem to have a past. Where did he come from and why did he just happen to be in a place moments before Lopez almost got killed? Even the title, Angel Eyes, gives audiences the impression that something supernatural is at work.

The film is actually just a romantic drama with nothing ghostly or otherwise about it. The film company may have thought they were helping the film generate interest by adding the mystery angle, but it just made Angel Eyes more of a disappointment than it already was.

10. Frozen

Frozen Wallpaper

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The teaser trailer for the 2013 Disney smash alludes to a film that follows snowman, Olaf and reindeer, Sven. The two engage in an amusing back in forth as Olaf keeps losing his carrot nose and Sven attempts to make it his next snack.

The actual film features the two characters prominently but the film is not about them by any means. They are merely the sidekicks to major characters Elsa, Anna, and Kristoff. Disney has a tendency to tease films for sometime prior to their release. While the trailer may suggest a different kind of film, the general tone is a fair comparison to the feature.