Trailer Mash

'The Devil Inside' meets 'Beneath the Darkness' in a grim version of our weekly opening-movie roundup

The Devil Inside is what happens when a director believes that despite ample evidence to the contrary there is another genuinely scary movie to be made about satanic possession almost a half-century after The Exorcist. It's what you might call an act of faith. A couple of years ago The Last Exorcism offered up the same prayer before it descended into a parody, possibly witting, of '70s schlocker The Devil's Rain. This, too, looks well enough on a first glance, though the hackneyed nursery-rhyme device and hints of hit-and-miss performances don't do it any favors.

The trailer for Beneath the Darkness—an everything-but-the-haunted-kitchen-sink small-town horror flick, it seems—is interesting mainly for the same reason the film will be, which is to generate a range of answers to two questions: 1) What does Beneath the Darkness actually mean? Was it not a parody title from a '90s SNL sketch about '80s slasher flicks? And 2) What happened to Dennis Quaid? Is he now channeling brother Randy, absent from Hollywood due to his refugee status in Canada?

Over a seductively self-aware voiceover about America, dreams and the power of the image, a series of 8mm sequences of veteran rocker John Mellencamp are intercut with shots of Main Street America looking attractively vintage and decayed. Some kind of postmodern take on the concert-tour movie, It's About You definitely seems to want to have its cake and eat it, but while the message comes across pretty sweetly in this small slice, a whole one could be a bit much to swallow.

The Isle of Man is a self-governing tax haven the size of a small town and sits in the middle of the sea halfway between England and Ireland. Among the reasons to visit, which include the glorious countryside and the annual TT motorcycle races, are the tax concessions you get if you make a film there, recently via the agency of the government's partner CinemaNX. This is how low-budget bursts of genius such as the brilliant The Disappearance of Alice Creed or Me and Orson Welles get made nowadays. Albatross, a coming-of-age tale of sexual awakening that appears to make a good fist of turning that dead phrase on its head, is the latest. The trailer suggests a bittersweet affair: On the one hand, there's an eye-opening performance by Jessica Brown-Findlay as a teen seductress; on the other, there's Julia Ormond, once the ingenue to Harrison Ford in the remake of Sabrina, as a cuckolded mum.

Haruki Murkami's international bestseller Norwegian Wood here appears to be getting one of those respectful screen adaptations than never quite delivers on the novel's nuances despite the very best intentions and, on this occasion, the benefit of a Jonny Greenwood score. Back in 1993, Tran Anh Ung made the groundbreaking The Scent of Green Papaya, and with its pastoral-meets-politics vibe this trailer has very much the same feel. Could be like last year's Jane Eyre though, which, while by no means a comprehensive retelling of the book, was quite brilliant.

Roadie appears to have been sabotaged by facial hair. It could be the greatest movie ever made about what happens to roadies after their careers collapse and they return home to sleep with their former schoolmates' wives. But when you face the audience with the kind of weird Victorian mutton chop and Zapata mustache combo sported by Ron Eldard, it's impossible to be taken seriously, at least according to this trailer.