John Landis Mines Real-Life Murders for Comedy in Trailer for Burke and Hare

John Landis, the director of classics like An American Werewolf in London, The Blues Brothers and Coming to America, has finally made another narrative feature after a nearly decade-long hiatus! Yay! But the trailer for Burke and Hare looks like a poor man's Sweeney Todd. Boo. Then again, Simon Pegg is in it! Awesome! But seriously, what's with all of these cheesy sound effect cuts and the broad humor? Watch the trailer and sort through your own mixed-up emotions after the jump.

The film, which also stars Andy Serkis, Tim Curry and Isla Fisher, is a period piece based on the murders of William Burke and William Hare, who killed at least 17 people in Edinburgh in 1828. Though, from the tone of the trailer, you'd think it was actually based on a high-concept comedy script from the dusty bottom of a studio shelf. It's pure farce, complete with falling sludge, flower pots breaking on heads and straight-mistaken-for-gay jokes.

I love all of the talent involved, and I especially want to see directors like Landis return to form, but these jokes aren't doing it for me, and the production design looks like a bunch of left over sets from a BBC serial. It's hard to get excited when the most trailer-ready one-liner is, "I had confidence in a fart once and I sh*t all over myself." Still though, the cheesy editing and overbearing voice-over in this trailer isn't doing the movie any favors. Maybe the humor is more nuanced and original when it's given room to breathe? Please?

Verdict: On the fence with my fingers crossed.

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