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Dead Island: The best trailer in years? [Video]

February 16, 2011 |  7:28 pm

Movie studios spend millions of dollars every year trying to get us to pay attention to their upcoming films by carefully cutting and distributing trailers. But for all the money and time spent, sometimes the most compelling cinematic material doesn't come from the studios at all.

That's what this fan-made trailer for "The Expendables" proved last year. And on Thursday, when a trailer for a previously little-known video game titled Dead Island started blowing up Twitter, it seemed to happen again. (The game is being developed by Techland and will be published by Deep Silver; there was no release date coming into Wednesday, but we have a feeling that will change pretty soon.)

The trailer, as you'll see below, is a marvelously ambitious work, essentially a short film in all but name. It takes a melancholy piano score and runs it under a battle between a family on vacation and the zombies who have taken over their resort. Apart from the piece's sharp visual style and emotional impact (the father-daughter moment at the end is heartbreaking), the most impressive aspect may be the trailer's structure. It's tough enough to weave in elegant flash-forwards and flashbacks in a full-length feature; the "Dead Island" trailer does it all in about three minutes.

One can only hope one of the zombie movies that studios have in the works is half as good. Or, better yet, someone in Hollywood should drop whatever branded reboot they're working on and develop this as a film.

-- Steven Zeitchik