Trailer Park: “A Simple Favor” and “Galveston”

Thrilling killings are on the menu in Trailer Park! Look, we’re not ones to shy away from the sensational, especially not when it’s so satisfyingly cinematic. So, whether committed by diabolical suburbanites in Louboutins with martinis, or by inscrutable, volatile, professional criminals, these are crimes we’ll gladly pay to see:

Paul Feig has helmed both one of the decade’s most beloved raunch-comedies (Bridesmaids) and one of its most controversial re-boots (Ghostbusters), each with a primarily women-led cast. A Simple Favor, which is adapted from the Darcey Bell novel of the same name, finally has a full-length trailer ahead of its September 14 release date, and it looks like Feig might be up to something completely different…something like if Gone Girl and Gemini exploded into a lurid vintage paperback. With its promises of twists and trust issues galore, it also makes a fascinating companion piece to the forthcoming Serenity, with one important distinction: No matter how high A Simple Favor might set its stakes, it still possesses a “fun factor” that’s pure Feig, even with its dark premise about a woman’s mysterious disappearance.

If The Stepford Wives, Thoroughbreds, and now this have taught us anything, it’s that Connecticut is TERRIFYING. We don’t know for sure, but we wouldn’t be surprised if Get Out were set there, too. In Hollywood’s version of Connecticut, there’s always something simmering beneath the polished, WASP-y facade, reinforcing all suspicions that a well-manicured and highly lacquered appearance can contain darkness just as well as any more outwardly grotesque monster.

Whereas A Simple Favor’s trailer is all wink-wink-nudge-nudge, overspilling with clicking heels, clinking glasses, feminine wiles, and the coy chemistry between Kendrick and Lively (it does crackle, though, doesn’t it?), the trailer for Galveston comes with a major jolt of naked aggression. That’s mostly courtesy of Ben Foster (who just totally wowed us with his performance in Leave No Trace) as Roy, a hired killer living on borrowed time. 

Galveston smacks (sometimes literally) of Southern noirs like River of Grass and Sun Don’t Shine, with just a hint of Buffalo ‘66 in the mix. But as with things in Connecticut, all is not as it seems. Frankly, it’s tempting to think of Elle Fanning, who plays nineteen-year-old Raquel, as a blend of Christina Ricci and Amy Seimetz; it’s also tempting to think of the Fanning sisters as an emerging dynasty à la the Arquette’s. Like A Simple Favor, this is an adaptation of a novel (by Nic Pizzolatto, who also wrote the script). That means there are two more titles to add to your Fall Movie Book Club, which at last check included: The Sisters Brothers, Wildlife, The Hate U Give, and The Children Act.

Directed by Inglourious Basterds’ star Mélanie Laurent (directing her first English-language feature), Galveston has plenty of juicy pulp flowing through its veins despite its gritty, sunburnt feel. After all, the elements are all there: A hitman, a prostitute, a probably-kidnapped toddler, a setup gone sideways, a motor lodge by the ocean…we could go on. Add to that Arnaud Potier’s cinematography, which has already drawn comparisons to the photographic work of William Eggleston, and here’s a movie that, if it follows the form of the trailer, promises to be a series of dreamy-feeling sequences punctuated by brutally violent interludes. It’s sleepy and scorching in equal measure. The whole thing makes us want to suck down a giant glass of sweet tea! We’re waiting with bated breath for Galveston’s theatrical release date, after its appropriately Texan debut at SXSW.

Watch Now: Southern noir! In addition to River of Grass and Sun Don’t Shine, don’t miss In the Heat of the Night and The Big Easy, all now streaming on Fandor.

Do you love previews? We sure do! Join us every week in the Trailer Park for hot takes on the coolest Coming Attractions (popcorn not included). To get in the know, check out our recent columns on “Colette” and “The Favourite” and “Zoe” and “Mandy” and “Madeline’s Madeline.”
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