This was originally published at The Edge SUSU On May 7th 2015.
When you’re a fledgling YouTube film reviewer it’s very easy to get lost among the masses. With the internet’s democratisation of criticism comes the inevitable problem of an overcrowded marketplace. Now, only a select few people can really break through. Chris Stuckman, Jeremy Jahns, and the Schmoes Know have all managed it. But most just get drowned out in the noise. Therefore it’s pivotal to have something of a USP, a distinguishing quality which singles you out from the herd. Cinemasins have their “Everything Wrong With” videos (which have now devolved from funny critiques into tedious, pedantic nitpicking) and Screen Junkies have their flagship series “Honest Trailers“.
The ingenious set-up is that, once a week, they take a film, or on occasion a TV show and essentially review it by making a parody trailer, in which the voice-over guy playfully mocks the flaws of the subject in question. Immensely popular with fans the videos are the main pull for the Screen Junkies channel. Their own trailer even acknowledges this, championing the series as “The hit show our subscribers truly love” and relegating the rest of their content to the “other stuff we make when we have the time.” Consistently funny, the reviews work best for those who’ve actually seen the films being lampooned, as they pick apart plot holes, and character motivations. Sometimes they even carefully replicate the style of the film’s actual trailer, à la their one for Boyhood, which features a parody of Family of the Year’s ‘Hero’, the song which plays over the real trailer for the film.
This week marked their 100th episode and it’s one of their strongest to date as well. For the milestone occasion, they aim their sights on the trauma inducing 50 Shades of Grey. You get the feeling that they’ve been saving this particular film for this very occasion, after all you don’t celebrate such a landmark achievement with just another Divergent or Maze Runner. As usual they revel in highlighting the idiocy of their subject matter, personally I’m so glad that they picked up on the whole “he controls what she eats” thing because that was just weird. This is Honest Trailers as its very best.
If you haven’t gathered by now I’m something of a fan. Its a testament to their quality that I have come to know Tuesdays as “Honest Trailer’s day,” but what’s most impressive is that unlike many other gimmick based film reviewers (*cough* CINEMASINS) Honest Trailers haven’t lost any of their former mojo. In fact it might be accurate to say that they’re actually going from strength to strength, honing their craft and developing even sharper writing. They’ve also been doing weekly Honest Video Game Trailers and they’re shaping up to be just as good: check out the Candy Crush one it’s perfect.
The only downside to Honest Trailers is that it ends up overshadowing the rest of Screen Junkies exemplary output. For example, take a look at their Movie Fights Show. The episodes are long but if you can get on board with that then they’re a blast, bringing together some of YouTube’s best movie reviewers for interesting debates. Kind of like the internet’s equivalent to The Avengers.