Friday, December 3, 2010

Night of the Kay Jewelers

The holidays are upon us again, and Kay Jewelers has revived the commercial that never should have aired in the first place:


Seriously, did Wes Craven make this commercial? The hilariously inept (or courageously subversive?) director took a concept that's clearly intended to be romantic and turned it into a straight up atmospheric horror show. Every genre earmark is here:


Clearly a soundstage, with overly dramatic lighting, conspicuous use of Hollywood fog, aggressive use of the wind machine, and preposterously amped-up rain. It's not that it's an unrealistic rainstorm; it's just that there are ways of filming such a thing that would make it romantic... which I'm assuming would be a better way to sell jewelry.


Here, the camera angle, the wide lens, the detached and voyeuristic view through the window, and the way the light gives way to encroaching darkness around the edges of the frame give the viewer a feeling of isolation. Also, the lights on each of the actors' faces come from cross angles -- the left side of her face is lit, the right side of his -- which contradict their positions in relation to each other. Where is this light coming from? Things like this have a subconscious effect on the viewer, conveying a feeling that things are "not right."


Looking for something menacing outside. Little does she realize... the killer is already inside!!


I imagine the director said, "On this take, turn around faster and more violently. Let's really see your hair whip around. Trust me - it might feel unnatural to you, but it will look great on film." Nope!

And once again, that tree limb in the foreground suggests that something is closing in. The monster could spring up from anywhere.


Here's the part that solidifies the whole thing: the man's final line. What must have been intended as "intense romantic reassurance" comes off sounding like "possessive psychotic obsession." It doesn't help that the guy looks and sounds like Jeremy Sisto's Billy Chenowith from his mentally unstable first season of "Six Feet Under."

"I'm right here," says the man. "And I always will be." Given everything that came before, would it surprise anyone if he continued, "And when I liberate our souls from these wretched bodies that imprison them, we can be together for eternity," followed by him driving a knife into her chest?

I can't believe Kay Jewelers has brought this commercial back. I'd assumed they only reluctantly aired it last year when it was new. "Well, we already spent the money to produce this thing, so let's just use it." But they brought it back, so they're clearly willing to stand behind it. Are they oblivious to how it plays with the audience? Or is this commercial actually effective at selling jewelry?

1 comment :

  1. Where's the snow? This is a Christmastime commercial. That might've helped relieve the creepiness factor. And a new actor as the beau.

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