About the closest there came to a consensus opinion out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was that Hereditary, the latest horror movie scooped up by indie distributor A24, is really, really scary. Of course, just saying as much—as yours truly did after stumbling shell-shocked out one of the first screenings—risks creating expectations that no movie, even one as diabolically effective as this, could hope to meet. So maybe it’s a good thing that the first trailer for the movie basically makes it look like a familiar (albeit pretty intense) dose of dread-infused, supernatural scare tactics. Little of the film’s grueling emotional dimension gets conveyed over the preview’s two minutes, devoted as they are instead to menacing mood, the bare impression of plot, and a few quick glimpses of some of the more unnerving images (including the trick dollhouse shot that opens both the trailer and the film itself). There are also, of course, the alarmed pull quotes—an essential advertising strategy of any horror festival favorite, and one hint that this ain’t some Conjuring movie in all but name. Because it sure ain’t.
Hereditary, which really is terrifying as hell (screw it, why hide the white hairs and gooseflesh it provokes?), opens in theaters everywhere June 8. In the meantime, try to forget everything you’ve heard about it.