The trailer for “Mommy” opens with a mother’s powerful declaration to prove love can fix all. Later, erratic shots track the yin and yang of her son’s destruction and her attempts to rein him in. It promises deeper probing into nature’s most fiercely intimate relationship.


Les Films Séville

And all this ruined by One Republic’s “Counting Stars” blaring overtop. Paired with a woman’s hysterical sobs, you almost wonder if the movie is supposed to be funny (hint: it’s not). Trailers have mere minutes to snare interest, so everything must align under one concentrated vision. This song’s lyrics may match, but it’s too radio-friendly, too diluted by its associations with solo in-car karaoke and dance-alongs at parties to possibly invoke the film’s serious mood. The second song, Ellie Goulding’s “Anything Can Happen,” is less offensively off-kilter, but it still doesn’t quite fit. The music choice yanks “Mommy” completely away from its thematic course, toppling what once would have been a successful trailer.

Perhaps the intent behind using popular music was to connect with a wider audience, but let’s remember that this is a film shot in a one-to-one square ratio. It knows it’s not a blockbuster. So why doesn’t its soundtrack?

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