If a commercial gets people’s attention on the internet and during a broadcast of The Walking Dead that gets 12.1 million viewers, but no one knows what it is for, does it really make an impact? That’s a fair question for the people behind what appears to be the first teaser trailer for Guilermo del Toro’s upcoming FX series, The Strain, but in that we’re talking about the creepy ad, the answer would appear to be yes.
Employing the found footage aesthetic, the ad starts innocently enough, with a woman conversing and drinking a glass of white wine at an outdoor cafe on a city street while her tablemate videotapes her. Soon, though, there is a parade of rats scaring off the patrons, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it flash of the words “He is here” and another video showing a similar rat outing in what looks like an office building.
None of the show’s known cast members are featured and there is no mention of the vampires plague that will envelop New York City in the series. Just a bunch of rats and those words, “He is here”, which are apparently a significant phrase in Chuck Hogan and del Toro’s Strain novel that the show is based on.
When the show does premiere in the summer of 2014, it figures to generate a lot of interest thanks to the behind the scenes presence of Carlton Cuse, Hogan, and del Toro, as well as a cast that includes House of Cards standout Corey Stoll, Sean Astin, Kevin Durand, and Broadchurch and An Adventure in Space and Time star David Bradley, who joins the series after the del Toro directed pilot in place of John Hurt.
Eventually, though, The Strain will be judged not on a clever viral marketing campaign or the sterling cast, but on the grotesque and dramatic transformation between human and vampire and the look of the infected.
Luckily, there isn’t likely a name that will inspire more confidence in a creature laden project than Guilermo del Toro’s, but after the first teaser trailer, it’s understandable why some might be disappointed that they are still waiting to get a real, live-action look at the real horror that will drive this show and, quite possibly, our opinion of it.
The Strain premieres in July 2014 on FX