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Though it's perhaps not leaning as hard into the supernatural as his last feature, the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro's Nightmare Alley still ranks among the most-anticipated new releases of the holiday season thanks to its stacked cast, its incredible visuals, and Del Toro's own flair for genre cinema theatrics even when he's leaning into more realistic subjects. The film's first teaser trailer, which dropped earlier this year, showed off those visuals and genre flourishes right away, delivering a lot of atmosphere even if it didn't give away much of the film's story. Now, the full trailer is here to change that.
Based on William Lindsay Gresham's 1946 novel, which was adapted into a film noir classic in 1947, Nightmare Alley follows Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper), a carnival performer and con artist who has used his natural gifts working in live performance to convince people that he's a medium who can read minds and even communicated with spirits in "the beyond." Of course, whether he's actually a medium or just very good at telling people what they want to hear is anyone's guess, and there are those who'd rather not guess with such things. Caught between wealthy clients and a psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who might be even better at manipulation than he is, Carlisle is immersed in a deadly game that will push him into some very dark places.
Check out the trailer below:
As his past films prove, Del Toro is a master of attention to detail, particularly when it comes to period pieces like The Shape of Water and Pan's Labyrinth, and Nightmare Alley is no different in that regard. From the costume design to the carnival sets to the urban cityscapes, this trailer is rich in gorgeous production and composition, and we've come to expect nothing less from the Oscar-winning master. There's a sense of tribute not just to the original 1947 film, directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Tyrone Power, but also to film noir in general. Then, of course, there's the all-star cast to consider. Alongside Cooper and Blanchett, the film also features the likes of Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, David Strathairn, Mary Steenburgen, and of course, Del Toro good luck charm Ron Perlman.
Originally set to begin production in 2019, Nightmare Alley started shooting in early 2020, only to shut down amid the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Del Toro was able to finish principal photography late last year, and the film is now on track to be a dark Christmas present for us all with a December 17 release.