Dead Island Trailer: The Zombie Video Game Everyone is Talking About

We don’t post too many video game trailers here on Film Junk (although we do occasionally discuss them on the Game Junk Podcast), but this new Dead Island teaser trailer clearly seems to be getting a lot of attention within the movie blogosphere as well. Which makes sense because it is a video game with zombies… and as we all know, film geeks love zombies! But even if you’re getting sick of chopping up undead hordes in games like Dead Rising and Left 4 Dead, the Dead Island trailer might catch your attention because it does something a little different. It attempts to be artistic and plays out like a short film. But is it as mindblowing as everyone says it is?

Ever since a Gears of War trailer used the Gary Jules cover of “Mad World” (from the Donnie Darko soundtrack) a couple of years ago, video game developers have started to realize that slow mo sequences and atmospheric music makes a much stronger impression than rapid fire editing and nu-metal. But now that everyone is doing it, it’s starting to feel a little bit cliched. I won’t deny that this is an effective trailer (even though it tells us nothing about the actual gameplay), but I do think it’s only getting praised because it is advertising a video game. If this was a movie trailer, it would be laughed out of the room. What do you think, is this a masterpiece of marketing, or just kinda cheesy and about a minute too long? Dead Island will be released sometime in 2011; check out the trailer after the jump.

  • Phil

    My goodness, are zombies ever PLAYED OUT.

    how many thousands of “me too” franchises have we seen about this concept!?

  • Saw this yesterday. If this game is half as awesome as this trailer is, it will be the game of the year.

  • Jay

    I agree Sean. Found this trailer both confusing (had to watch it twice) and kinda pretentious. When you put children in peril (open shot of the dead girl) you are trying too hard. I also found the CG itself to have a real Dreamcast era vibe to it.
    This said, i look forward to knowing more about the setting, gameplay to form a more complete opinion.
    All we have now is pure hype!

  • What a brilliant trailer. Whether it was a game or not, or a short film or an ad for a film I’d be compelled.

  • dirrrtyfrank

    Rewinding, slomo with over-bearing piano score… woo hoo. Pretentious, unoriginal garbage.

    I will say from a video game standpoint, the expression of the facial animation was the most impressive thing.


  • Matt

    I didn’t mind the trailer. Though the slo motion backwards thing did get a little boring. I’m hoping that Dead Island is not “arcady” like Dead Rising.

  • I agree with Frank and Sean.

    I can’t even really say this trailer is doing anything different because it’s so directly inspired by the Gears of War “Mad World” trailer (which was WAY better). As Sean mentioned in his post, seems like this has become a trend in game marketing that forgoes selling the actual game (in game graphics, gameplay, etc.) for an opportunity to be “artsy”. In my opinion, it just plays as confusing, pretentious, and in a simple word; cheesy.

    I will agree though, the facial animation and lighting is pretty awesome!

  • Colin

    I think the trailer as a standalone piece is interesting and well-made, but according to the developers, the game is a “first-person zombie-slasher/action-RPG” which not only sounds confusing, but completely boring.

    I’m absolutely unexcited for the game, but I do think its an effective ad.

  • Jonny Ashley

    It’s getting a huge backlash because everyone is calling it a tragic masterpiece of advertising. I don’t think it’s remotely that, but I think it’s effective for what it is. I’m excited for a zombie game with human consequences, if that’s what they’re trying to sell this as.

  • FoxMulder

    As always with early game trailers, the endproduct will never ever look like that, so why even bother!

  • Fatbologna

    I hate pre-rendered game trailers. They’re absolutely worthless on every level. No gameplay, no story, no nothing. Just an excuse for the animators to have a wank.

  • KeithTalent

    It’s ok, but it’s a game trailer, show me some of the freaking game!

    L4D2 is pretty much the only game I play these days, so I have no problem with zombies being played out or whatever, but this trailer left me feeling pretty flat.

  • Fatbologna

    Hilarious! The difference of opinion between film nerds and game nerds is astonishing. The Marketing dollars seem to be working…

  • Primal

    Totally chessy! Frank is on the money when he said that it’s pretentious. I’ll take the L4D1 intro over this any day. Now let’s see the actual gameplay.

  • cakaoodle

    wtf talk about over staying your welcome

  • Jurassicalien

    It felt very been there, done that. The reason the L4D trailer worked is it had characters, dialogue and a bit of humor, that was actually a short film to some extent. This felt like it was hitting the bullet points of “What makes people sad?” I’m surprised there wasn’t a dog put in danger as well.

  • Jonny Ashley

    Is it a coincidence that this trailer came out about a week ago?

    what’s the deal with zooming out of dead eyeballs and playing slow piano music?

  • The Man

    Yelled at jay on twitter about it not being pretentious. I will say this yes putting the child endanger is defianty part of the effect this trailer has. And that’s the biggest thing I have aginst it. Confusing? I didn’t
    get that at all. I knew exactly what was going on.

    I think this is a great ad because it very provocative, and bold.

    Oh and I hated that gears ad. I the only thing that ad
    proved is how awesome that darko song is.

    The second gears advwas way better.

  • I’ve rewatched this trailer several times since it was released, and I have come to this conclusion: this is the best zombie related thing I have ever seen. I don’t like zombies, I agree that they are completely played out (along with vampires), but this trailer actually managed to get an emotional response out of me, which is something that the majority of zombie related things have always failed to do with me (even the walking dead).

    With that said, there is no way in hell that the actual game will be anywhere near as good or even have half the emotion that the trailer has.

  • swarez

    I would have liked to see some actual game footage but from what little I’ve seen from the actual game it looks like a Left 4 Dead clone. And L4D lost my interest really early.

  • Brugalito

    Its a pretty cool trailer, but i want to see gameplay.

    what bothers me though is that everybody gets there ovaries in a bunch cause it shows a child getting killed, lets be real its a game and im 99.99% sure its rated M, so obviously not for kids.