Every year, there are a few Sundance premieres that make major waves at the festival, leaving those of us unlucky enough to miss out desperate to catch the ripples later in the year. One such film is Assassination Nation, which scored a monster $10 million acquisition deal from Neon and AGBO at the festival. Now, Neon is preparing to roll out the film this fall. The divisive action flick released its first teaser trailer Wednesday, and boy—it’s a doozy.
After an edgy The Purge-esque opening featuring a creepy kid on a Big Wheel, the red band trailer devolves into its primary purpose: satirizing millennial culture. “A FEW TRIGGER WARNINGS,” it announces, before a litany of clips heralding the film’s imminent “bullying, abuse, classism, death, drinking, drug use, social content, toxic masculinity, homophobia, transphobia, guns, nationalism, racism, kidnapping, the male gaze, giant frogs, sexism, swearing, torture, violence, gore, weapons [and] fragile male egos.” There is notably no star power behind the teaser, despite its stellar cast, which inclues Odessa Young, Suki Waterhouse, Hari Nef, Abra, Bella Thorne, Bill Skarsgård, Anika Noni Rose and Joel McHale. See the preview for yourself below, and find the film’s first poster at the end of this piece.
If you feel weird reading that list that lumps together sexism, homophobia/transphobia and abuse with “giant frogs,” you’ll probably feel even weirder when you find out that this film, which features four scantily clad high school girls shooting down the patriarchy, was written and directed by a white man, Sam Levinson. That’s not to say that no man has ever successfully satirized misogyny—Chris Sivertson and Lucky McKee went delightfully buck-wild with their teen succubus romp All Cheerleaders Die, for example—but it is pretty damn difficult, and this trailer does not inspire hope.
Of course, Neon is also known for their provocative marketing (see: the Revenge trailer), so they could just be blowing smoke. Either way, we’ve got to wait until Sept. 21 to find out if Assassination Nation is a real criticism of toxic masculinity or just a byproduct of yet another fragile male ego.