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Body horror meets a haunted house in first trailer for Netflix's Eli

By Matthew Jackson
Eli Netflix official still

What happens to your mind when your own body will rebel and kill you if you so much as venture outside, but the home that's supposed to be your safe haven also seems to be trying to kill you? That's the question at the heart of Eli, the new Netflix original horror film from director Ciaran Foy (Sinister 2). The flick hits the streaming giant later this month, and now the first trailer has finally landed to give us a peek at the scares in store in this very particular take on a haunted house story. 

The titular Eli, played by Charlie Shotwell, is a young boy whose life is placed in constant peril by an auto-immune disease. In the hopes of making him better, and giving him a life where he doesn't always have to exist inside of a plastic bubble or a sealed hazmat suit, his parents (Kelly Reilly and Max Martini) seek the help of a doctor (Lili Taylor) who professes that her new treatments can actually help. To facilitate this experimental procedures and medications, Eli and his family move into a sterile, sealed off mansion where he can finally freely hug and touch his parents again while he undergoes treatment. As the work begins, though, Eli begins to suspect that something is very, very wrong in the old house. 

The new trailer, which was debuted over at Bloody Disgusting, begins by playing up the paranoia that sets in as Eli's treatments start, then starts to shift in very intriguing ways. What hooks you as a psychological body horror story quickly morphs into a haunted house movie, and it looks like those elements will play very well together.

As Foy explained to Bloody Disgusting, the film is filled with all manner of paranoid, thrilling questions that made the script -- by David Chirchirillo, Ian Goldberg, and Richard Naing -- an instant hook for him.

“I got sent the script two weeks after my son was born and I was a complete zombie. I really didn’t want to read anything, I just wanted to sleep when I could! But my agent encouraged me to take a look and so I read it in one sitting at 3am. The thing that really grabbed me was how surprising the story was,” Foy said. “It was filled with tense questions – is this real or imagined? Who can you trust? Who is telling the truth? I really felt for this character. You begin thinking it’s one thing and it changes direction in a very cool and organic way. I read so much horror that I’m rarely caught so off guard. But this was an exception and so I wanted to pitch on it.”

Eli arrives on Netflix October 18.