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Ari Aster's 'Beau Is Afraid' trailer sends Joaquin Phoenix on a strange, great adventure

The wild new film from the director of Hereditary and Midsommar arrives this April.

By Matthew Jackson
Beau Is Afraid (2023)

Thanks to his first two features as director, Ari Aster has become known as something of a modern horror wizard. Hereditary and Midsommar both rank among the most well-received scary movies of the last decade, but with his third film, Aster seems out to prove that he can do more than terrify, even if he is building a new story out of one man's fears. Get ready for Beau Is Afraid.

Originally announced as Disappointment Boulevard, Aster's new film arrives in theaters this April, and the first trailer dropped Tuesday to give us a taste of what to expect. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix in the title role of a very paranoid guy who's just trying to get home to visit his mother. Said mother, who we only hear on the phone in the trailer, seems very excited for him to come and see her, but Beau has certain concerns that hamper his journey. He's terrified that the world outside his window is going to descend into absolute anarchy if he dares venture out. What happens when he does finally step out his door certainly seems like chaos, but perhaps not the chaos he expected.

Check out the trailer below:

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Everything about this trailer is fascinating, from the emergence of familiar Aster creepiness — those masks, those long corridors that seem to exude darkness — to the strangely uplifting sense that Beau might be overcoming something even as he falls into a strange captive relationship with two people who seemingly rescued him from a car accident.

Is it a fantasy film, a science fiction film, a horror film, all of the above? It's really hard to tell just from the images in this trailer, but no matter what genre the film falls (or doesn't fall) into, Beau Is Afraid has emerged as one of the year's must-see pieces of weirdness from one of our most interesting genre filmmakers.

With a supporting cast that includes Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, and Patti LuPone, Beau Is Afraid hits theaters April 21. 

Get in the mood for Beau is Afraid with more horror films like They/Them or Anneliese: The Exorcist Tapes, both streaming now on Peacock.