Secrets are the name of the game in the second teaser trailer for Paul Feig's mystery/thriller, A Simple Favor. Feig is best known these days for making comedies anchored by women - with Bridesmaids, Spy, and Ghostbusters being among his better known efforts - and the new teaser for A Simple Favor acknowledges as much, via a title card that says the film is "From the darker side of Paul Feig". However, much like his recent comedy offerings, A Simple Favor is anchored by female A-listers in the forms of Blake Lively and Anna Kendrick, and features several women in supporting roles; Linda Cardellini (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Jean Smart (Legion), and Sarah Baker (Big Little Lies) among them.
Based on the novel by Darcey Bell and written for the screen by Jessica Sharzer (American Horror Story), A Simple Favor takes place in small-town Connecticut and revolves around mommy vlogger Stephanie Ward (Kendrick) and her best friend, Emily Nelson (Lively). When Emily goes missing one day, it falls to Stephanie and Emily's husband Sean (Henry Golding) to join forces and figure out what happened to her. Things aren't exactly what they seem though, and before long it starts to become clear that the truth about Emily's disappearance is far more sinister and shocking than anyone on the outside looking in could have predicted.
Whereas the first teaser for A Simple Favor focuses on Stephanie as she begins to wonder if Emily wasn't the calmly suave and sophisticated person she thought, the second teaser focuses more on the aftermath of Emily's disappearance and flat-out asks what happened to her. The trailer offers some hints (including, footage of a terrible car crash and Emily thrashing in water somewhere), but otherwise avoids spoiling too much for those who haven't already read Bell's original book. You can take a look at the new trailer for A Simple Favor in the space above.
In addition to recent mystery/thriller novels-turned movies Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, the trailers for A Simple Favor begs comparison to the collective works of Alfred Hitchcock and the many films inspired by the Master of Suspense's oeuvre. At the same time, A Simple Favor differs from Hitchock's films in some key respects, starting with the fact that it's a story about two women at its core. The film's second teaser trailer further suggests that Feig's adaptation will deconstruct and re-examine the "icy blonde" femme fatale trope that was prevalent in Hitchock's work from a different perspective than, say, Hitchcock did in Vertigo.
So far, A Simple Favor appears to offer a refreshing change of pace from Feig's comedies (as much fun as they are) and it certainly looks like his most visually accomplished film yet, based on the trailer footage. That's not to say A Simple Favor seems to be on the same level of craftsmanship as David Fincher's work in Gone Girl especially, but it's good to see Feig improving and developing as a director all the same. Of course, comedies and thrillers are both challenging yet very different beasts to manage, so here's to hoping Feig stick the landing as he transitions from one genre to another.
- A Simple Favor (2018) release date: Sep 14, 2018