I have a feeling fans who rush to the theaters on Valentine's Day to see Fifty Shades Darker will get a different experience than their $17.69 ticket bargained for. Not better or worse — just different. From the looks of the new extended Fifty Shades Darker trailer, the sequel seems to match sexiness with thrills (none of them cheap, by the way). A handful of frightening outcomes are introduced as the result of Christian (Jamie Dornan) and Anastasia's (Dakota Johnson) romance. One of them is Christian's former lover and stalker Leila Williams (Bella Heathcote), who's lurking throughout the entirety of the trailer. Literally. And while I understand sex and horror are a great match, because hormones, I just hope the film still gives the audience what it wants: sex, sex, more sex — and a touch of romance, obviously.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a huge phenomenon largely because the franchise helped make BDSM more mainstream — though the book's depiction of the subculture is far from accurate. Audiences weren't attracted to it because of an initial romance-thriller pairing, which has been a staple in horrors, thrillers, and romances since the start of time. The concept of Fifty Shades stands on its own without life-threatening thrills, and it's those thrills that are heavily played up in the new trailer.
Throughout it, words across the screen read: "Every fairytale has a dark side." The trailer drives the point home. First, audiences see Leila standing outside Anastasia's apartment as such:
Then, she's spotted watching Christian and Anastasia outside of a restaurant:
Here, she is hovering over Anastasia's bed because she just won't quit:
Then, Christian's car is completely trashed leaving him and Anastasia in fear. Wonder who it could've been...
Oh, then there's this gnarly helicopter crash (with Christian and Anastasia inside of it):
In comes Anastasia's overly aggressive boss to really freak audiences out:
But the grand finale comes when a distraught Leila approaches Anastasia, saying, "Tell me what you have that I don't." Did I mention she pulls out a gun?
And then fires it?
Yeah, it gets intense.
Still, though, I have hope that Christian will continue making things just as thrilling between him and Anastasia in the bedroom — also in the shower, crowded elevators, and parties, if I'm getting technical. Because the trailer does match sexy and sweet moments with the scarier ones. Christian softly puts Anastasia's hand on his chest, they kiss under fireworks, have steamy shower sex, etc. Like I said, I have hope that this film will still be more of a romance than it is a thriller, because Christian and Ana's relationship remains at the core of it throughout.
While I understand the films are doing their best to follow E. L. James' books, the first one did an amazing job of making Ana an even stronger and more empowering heroine than she was in the novels, which made her relationship with Christian seem healthier and more breathtaking as a result. That's what I hope this sequel focuses on more so than the horror movie aspects, because that is, in my opinion, the true heart of the franchise: Christian and Ana's love for each other.