Catfish was one of the best movies I saw at Sundance this year, and one of the best parts about it was walking into the screening knowing literally nothing about it beyond the title. It wasn't just me-- everyone who saw the film at Sundance would gush about how much they loved it then shut up for fear of revealing too much, and when Brett Ratner and Rogue Pictures picked up the film for distribution in February, everyone who had seen it wondered how on earth they would sell a film that was best seen knowing as little as possible.

Now that the first trailer for the film has debuted at, we have our answer-- they're leaning hard on the mystery that got us all so fascinated because we didn't see it coming. From the apparent tagline-- "Don't Let Anyone Tell You What It Is"-- to the critic's quotes trumpeting "a shattering conclusion, everything about the marketing of Catfish seems to be saying "This looks like a mundane story about a dude falling for a girl online… but just wait until you see the dark truth behind it!" Which, yeah, is part of the story, but the minute you go in anticipating any kind of twist, your perception of what you watch changes entirely.

I get that this is the classic complaint of a festival-goer, that the only way to see a movie is "fresh" and "untainted" the way I did, and I realize that Catfish is such a good movie it will stand up no matter how much the audience knows (I can't wait to see it again). But I just can't help being anxious that they're going to botch this, making Catfish seem like some weird, Crying Game-style thriller about romance and deception, and turn off all the people who might like it for its sense of humor, its amazing story, and its impressive revelations about living in the Internet age.

So before you watch the trailer below or in high-res at Apple, let me tell you: you don't have to watch it. Go off my word and the word of nearly every other critic, trust that this movie is worth your time, and see Catfish knowing as little as possible. Then go watch this trailer and marvel at how much of the film it manages to give away while purporting that it's holding back the "shocking" final 40 minutes. Catfish is set for release September 17th, and with The Social Network coming out just a few weeks later the two movies may have the power to define what's becoming known as the Facebook generation. You don't have to watch this trailer to know that. Just a suggestion.

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