The 20 Best Trailers of 2014

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15. The Guest
Hi, Dan Stevens! Hey, everyone, it’s Dan Stevens! He of well-heeled gentry upbringing, of high manners and progressive politics, with cheekbones so chiseled they mock an expertly folded napkin at a fancy diner party. The last place we’d expect to see the former Downton Abbey heartthrob is in an action movie made by the masterminds behind 2013’s outstanding home invasion bonanza, You’re Next, and yet here’s Stevens, a full-on menacing creep. One thing this promo makes certain: Matthew Crawley is definitely dead.

I mean, who wouldn’t open their home to him? It hardly matters that he’s a stranger; David is so polite, soft-spoken, and gentle on first impression that even though we’re the audience, and we know that something is definitely fishy about this hunk, we’re already charmed. Still, nothing is given away, and the trailer does a great job hinting at serious late-stage insanity rather than confirm our suspicions and prevent us from avoiding what we assume may just be a retread of some mid-‘90s Marky Mark crazy-pants thrill-a-thon. —Andy Crump

14. The Raid 2: Berandal
Gareth Evans’ The Raid had a simple conceit: stuff a small cast of bona fide martial artists into a single set and watch the action ferment like a fine bourbon-aged powder keg. But, since the science of sequelization invokes the variable of “more,” one glance at the trailer for The Raid 2: Berandal very clearly proves that Evans isn’t challenging the equation: bullets, beatings, collisions, calamity, gangland politicking, and, in the center of it all, Iko Uwais looking dazed and confused by how awesomely he’s knocking dudes senseless.

So The Raid 2: Berandal’s teaser promises a vastly expanded picture from The Raid: Redemption, which might be a problem for some and an invitation for others. Maybe you don’t think there needs to be anything more to a film titled The Raid than a coterie of disposable bad guys brutally disposed of via intricately choreographed fight scenes? Maybe you think there’s a whole Jakarta outside the first film’s tenement block that demands exploring? Maybe you should shut up. —Andy Crump

13. The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears
There is no escape from this trailer, all damp seduction, terrifying lasciviousness, and claustrophobic brutality. Seriously, this thing is absolutely dripping—so, depending on your sexual inclinations, you will either find yourself hot and bothered or bent over a toilet, heaving up your insides. This must be what the film is like: a wet-dream gone awry, or a wet-nightmare fully realized. Prudes and epileptics alike, beware. —Dom Sinacola

12. Force Majeure
An accordion interpretation of a frantic Vivaldi concerto commands a daunting and formidable presence from the opening shot. Is it award season bait? Is it a thriller? Is it an impressionistic farce? Is it just plain bait? It’s your dysfunctional family’s last ski trip together, promising everything but giving away nothing, and bound to go terribly wrong. It might be the brightest nightmare ever committed to celluloid, the darkest humor powdered like snuff. And snow. Comedy as cold as the top of the lift. —Melissa Weller

11. Nightcrawler
In one breath, the modus operandi of protagonist Lou Bloom is expounded upon, repeated, solidified, made flesh, and sublimated. One would refer to it as “philosophy” if it had any sense of humanism, or even nihilism for that matter. But Jake Gyllenhaal’s statement—paired beat by painful beat with car chases, shootings, and Gyllenhaal’s frog-like, alien stare, every single image headbutting the third wall and directly addressing something deep inside you, pinging the urges that you simultaneously deny and give license to every time you set your own frog-like eyes on a screen—bears such robotic, logical aplomb that it might as well be the sound of Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand rearing up and slapping you hard across your stupid, stupid face. —Dom Sinacola

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