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Moody Trailer Cover Song

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A major trend in 2010s movie advertising (and occasionally trailers for other media) is using a famous upbeat pop song to set the mood, only recontextualized with dark, atmospheric music, most often sung by a breathy female vocalist singing at the lower end of her range and loaded to the gills with percussion in the suspenseful or action-heavy parts of the trailer. Typically, these songs use bright cheerful pop songs with deceptively unhappy lyrics, which the new versions attempt to underline. This can also be used for advertising derivative works; a famous song from the source material can be repurposed into something slower and moodier to indicate that it's going to be Darker and Edgier.

Compare Ironic Nursery Tune. Usually a Repurposed Pop Song or a Softer and Slower Cover.


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    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 

    Live-Action TV 
  • At least one of the trailers for American Horror Story: Coven used a slow-paced version of "House of the Rising Sun".
  • The trailer for The Defenders (2017) included a slow version of Nirvana's "Come As You Are".
  • Game of Thrones: The teaser trailer of season seven used a slow version of "Sit Down" by James where the coda of the song is used to show the state of the three rulers of the Seven Kingdoms (Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, and Cersei Lannister) who are walking towards their thrones.
  • Hannibal: Season two's trailer used MONA's warped version of Ben E King's "Stand By Me" to emphasize the main characters' complicated relationship.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022):
  • The trailer for the third season of The Magicians also uses Valerie Broussard's more mournful-sounding, breathy-voiced version of The Police's "King Of Pain".
  • The Midnight Club has "Possum Kingdom" by Toadies for its trailer, starting off upbeat and normal before shifting into a slower, ominous remix as the drama and supernatural elements come into play.
  • The official trailer for Midnight Mass makes use of Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" punctuated with "Psycho" Strings and menacing sounds to emphasize the horror aspects of the series.
  • The trailers of Percy Jackson and the Olympians are scored to a slow, dramatic remix of Vance Joy's "Riptide".
  • Star Trek: Discovery used a cover of "I'd Love To Change The World" by Ten Years After.
  • Stranger Things:
    • The season three trailer uses an ominous remix of The Who's "Baba O'Reilly" to showcase both the Party becoming teenagers and the Mind Flayer coming back for revenge.
    • The trailer for season four features a slower and chilling remix of "Separate Ways" by Journey to symbolize the Breaking the Fellowship status of the cast. This treatment also features in the show itself, at the end of that season's penultimate episode.
    • Season four does this in the show itself during the final battle against Vecna, set to an amped-up action movie remix of "Running Up That Hill" by Kate Bush that's combined with the show's theme song.
  • Swarm: A very haunting rendition of The Pixies’ “Where is My Mind” plays over the main trailer.
  • The Man in the High Castle uses a creepy, slow rendition of Edelweiss in its opening sequence.
  • Wednesday has an orchestral string cover of “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones for its main trailer.
  • Welcome to Chippendales includes a tense remix of “Separate Ways” by Journey in its trailer.
  • The trailer for The Whispers has "You Are My Sunshine" playing like a nursery rhyme.
  • The trailer for the third season of You (2018) sets Joe and Love's murderous shenanigans to a slow, crooning atmospheric cover of Britney Spears's "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by J2.
  • The second season trailers for Yellowjackets use an eerie cover of "Just A Girl", featuring dark, epic orchestrations and haunting vocals courtesy of Florence + the Machine.

    Video Games 
  • A trailer for Season 11 of Apex Legends uses a creepy rendition of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds".
  • A trailer for the second Crysis game has a rendition of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" playing over the ruins of, you guessed it Big Applesauce. To completely be this trope, it's done by a female singer in a low voice.
  • As with as Dracula Untold, Lorde's "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was also used by Assassin's Creed: Unity, which came out the same year.
  • The gameplay trailer of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III is set to an ominous version of Blue Öyster Cult's "(Don't Fear) the Reaper".
  • The trailer for the video game Dead Space featured a woman singing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star" in a way that sounded like she was on the verge of tears.
  • Commercials for Evolve feature Mischa feat. Esthero's cover of "Ready Or Not" by The Delfonics. The cover only includes the chorus, which emphasises the dark and frightening feel of the game. Another trailer uses Lissie's cover of Danzig's "Mother", which spends about two thirds of the song being more slow and mournful before escalating into the rapid-fire final riff.
  • Florence + the Machine did a cover of Ben E King's "Stand by Me" for Final Fantasy XV. It is a bit slower than the original, but more soulful and bombastic.
  • An early example is the Gears of War "Mad World" trailer, which uses Gary Jules's cover of the Tears for Fears song. Although this cover was originally recorded for the soundtrack for Donnie Darko.
  • The Evil Within 2 uses a dark and bittersweet cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" prominently in the trailer. It also features in the finished game as the ending credits theme.
  • The trailer for Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is set to a creepy rendition of "Go Tell Aunt Rhody".
  • The first look at Marvel's Midnight Suns uses a new version of Enter Sandman by Alessia Cara.
  • The teaser trailer for Poppy Playtime uses a creepy and eerie cover of Itsy Bitsy Spider, being sang by a female with an echoed and raspy voice that can trigger goosebumps to rise. It's even more spine-chilling and butt-clenching when demon-like whispering is heard during the song, and gets louder to repeat the "climbed up the spout again" line before the woman stops singing, only for the titular deurotagonist to foreshadow the upcoming main antagonist for the chapter. Yeesh.
  • The official announce trailer for Transformers Reactivate uses a new version of "Wanted Dead Or Alive".

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 

  • One commercial for Alfa Romeo uses an atmospheric cover of Chris Isaak's "Wicked Game."
  • A 2022 commercial for the Lincoln Navigator uses an atmospheric cover of The Police's "Walking on the Moon".
  • Parodied, and crossed with Ironic Nursery Tune, with the satire website Hard Drive in the article "Movie Trailer Editor Struggling to Create Menacing Rendition of ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb’".
    “When people see this trailer, we want them to have nightmares about it,” said Lionsgate marketing head Damon Wolf. “There is absolutely nothing more terrifying than hearing the song your mother sang to you every night, but like, scary. You’re going to piss your pants the next time you walk into a daycare, just wait and see.”
  • A 2010 Kingsford Charcoal commercial, appropriately titled "Slo Mo", featured a slow acoustic cover of The Human League's "(Keep Feeling) Fascination" performed by Rob Crow of Pinback.
  • This commercial for Disney+ uses an epic remix of "Somewhere Only We Know" by Keane.


Video Example(s):



Compare the peppy, brassy "Downtown" of Petula Clark with the version used in the 'Last Night in Soho' trailer, which punctuates it with horror movie shots and lighting.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MoodyTrailerCoverSong

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