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Can Alex Clare's "Whispering" Make 'The Boy Next Door' Seem Creepy? Video description
CULTURE ARTICLE

Can Alex Clare's "Whispering" Make 'The Boy Next Door' Seem Creepy?

The plot and the actors are all very nice, but a movie trailer's impact often relies on its soundtrack. Let's explore the latest trailer tunes and see how well they're working.

This Week's Trailer: A juicy peek at The Boy Next Door, an upcoming Jennifer Lopez thriller that may blow your mind. See, J. Lo is estranged from her husband, and in a moment of weakness, she sleeps with Noah, the high school kid who just moved in down the street. Only it turns out Noah is a crazy stalker. He's the kind of guy who will stroll into J. Lo's house, overhear the family talking about her baking, and say, "I love your mother's cookies." As a threat. (The movie arrives on January 23)

This Week's Tune: Alex Clare's dark and stormy electro-ballad "Whispering."

How Literal Is It? Remember that line about the cookies? In the trailer, it's followed by a close-up of Lopez's face, who looks terrified that her sexy secret is about to be revealed. In another scene, she finds her classroom covered with photos of her frisky evening. (Did I mention that she teaches at Noah's school?) And again, this is framed as a horrifying event. These moments need a song like "Whispering," with its ominous wall of sound and eerily tinkling piano, to tell us exactly how we're supposed to feel. If the soundtrack didn't clarify their intended effect, we might think these over-the-top shenanigans were being played for laughs.

How Emotional Is It? You know what's funny? When a movie that takes itself seriously is actually quite ludicrous.  Like…  Noah's supposed to be a dangerous high school student, but the actor playing him looks old enough to be the principal. He's supposed to be subtly menacing, but when he casually talks about Lopez's ex-husband, he just happens to be loading a gun.

At this rate, The Boy Next Door could become a camp classic, but it can only reach those glorious heights if it refuses to acknowledge its own silliness. A somber song like "Whispering" is perfect because it assures us the movie isn't in on the joke.

Will We Associate It With This Movie? I think we will. The song adds so much to the overall lunacy that it's hard to forget.

Overall Trailer Tune Effectiveness: Obviously, I have to see this. I'm dying to know if "Whispering" will be played when that big rig explodes on the highway. No doubt because Principal Noah stole a detonator cap from the school's chemistry lab.

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