A satirical trailer for “2016: The Movie” has gone viral. According to the view counter for the the ‘trailer’ it has over 3.4 million views at time of writing (January 1). I found another post for the trailer that had over 37 million views, so it has clearly been seen by tons of people. There is no real movie at this point and probably won’t be, however, the two-minute clip is good for a laugh thanks to a company called Friend Dog Studios.
Since the ‘trailer’ is actually a stand-alone piece of work, there’s no need to worry about plot spoilers so here goes. The ‘trailer’ starts with a New Year’s Eve countdown at the end of 2015; it shows a happy couple smooching in celebration of the new year in the company of friends, but then a short time later the cataclysm that we know as the year 2016 starts. Celebrities like Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, and Muhammad Ali start dying without any kind of clear pattern. As the characters try to understand the celebrity deaths, the female actress in the trailer, whose name is Anna Gillcrist, figures out in dramatic fashion – “It’s not a what, it’s a when.” Her cell phone explodes in her hand when she tries to find help.
The celebrity deaths mentioned in the trailer do reference George Michael, who just died on Christmas, so the trailer must have been made just in the last handful of days. Brexit, Donald Trump’s locker-room talk, a Ghostface-like character, and what looks like a shot that references the Mannequin Challenge from the fall of 2016 are referenced too.
The humor of the trailer definitely has to do with the perception of 2016 as some kind of nightmare. I mentioned to a relative the other day that it did seem like celebrities were dying a lot lately, a comment that my relative agreed with. But then that got me thinking about one simple question – why would they be?
In the absence of a good reason, I thought about an article I wrote a couple of weeks ago having to do with Michael Jackson’s death and my opinion on how it affected the never-ending quest for Internet traffic. Could be that celebrity deaths, whether real or fake, are just covered so well nowadays for the traffic/viewership that it merely seems like famous people are dropping like flies for people that are increasingly attuned to celebrity news due to regular interactions with social media and portable (exploding) devices.
After watching the ‘trailer’, I contacted the verified Facebook page with a few quick questions. Whoever replies on behalf of that page mentioned that Friend Dog Studio is a “production company we started so we could produce our sketches and feature ourselves and our colleagues in that content.” I asked if the people associated with the comedic trailer were freelancers and they replied in the positive: “We do some freelancing. We’re always open to serious offers of acting, writing and directing work.”
In regard to “2016: The Movie” actually becoming something longer than just the trailer the individual that answered my inquiry said it is “just a trailer. We don’t have plans right now to make a feature film, but if someone wants to give us a few million to make one, I’m sure we can work something out ??.” With 40,000,000 views and counting maybe they should just lower their budget, take a page out of Dogme95 avante-garde film or the “The Blair Witch Project” and run with it while they’re hot.