Guillermo Del Toro’s next film Nightmare Alley is a little departure for the director. The new teaser trailer, released by Searchlight Pictures on Thursday, sees the Oscar-winning filmmaker act in his fascination with the supernatural for an R-rated noir set in and around a carnival.
Nightmare Alley stars Bradley Cooper as Stanton Carlisle, a nightclub mind reader who gets entangled with Cate Blanchett as Dr. Lilith Ritter, a psychiatrist who wants to disprove him as a fraud. The teaser trailer itself manages to be very tense without Del Toro’s usual monsters featuring carnival side shows, Willem Dafoe as a kind of leader, Blanchett as an obvious femme fatale, and what looks like a live electric shock. You can see it for yourself in the teaser above.
Del Toros very consciously avoid many of the tropics in noir cinema with Nightmare Alley, aaccording to an interview with Vanity Fair. “I do not want to make blinds and voiceovers and detectives who go with fedoras in wet streets,” Del Toro told the magazine. It also extends to the director’s conscious choice not to include supernatural elements in his R-rated noir. The original novel from 1946 by Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham is rooted in the terrible things people do – Cooper’s character is ultimately a scam. Based on the trailer, the film seems like a natural development for the monster metaphors that Del Toro has been working on since he started his career, only this time brought fully into the real, equally terrifying world.
Nightmare Alley premieres on December 17.