You know exactly what’s coming whenever there’s a new Guillermo del Toro film. His recent fare like “The Shape of Water” has been a love letter to the old cinema. And it looks like “Nightmare Alley” may be more aesthetically similar but with more complex and darker tones. Searchlight Pictures has released the first teaser for the upcoming film. It also stars Bradley Cooper plays a swindling carny who finds himself in over his head when he starts a relationship with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) and discovers that she may be more dangerous than he is.
Del Toro’s forthcoming psychological thriller is based on the 1946 novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham. Oddly enough, this is the second feature film adaptation of Gresham’s story following the 1947 version, which 20th Century Fox released. The book looks at the shadowy and sleazy business of carnivals filled with hustlers, grifters, and Machiavellian femme Fatales.
And just by looking at this trailer, there is plenty of that. Once again, Del Toro will fully immerse his audience in a world that seems forgotten. The production and costume designs are classic, chic, and dapper, but also dark and haunting. Just listening to Willem Dafoe try to hustle patrons with words of mystery and intrigue is enticing enough to accept. But then come those classic noir aesthetics that add a mystical feel to it. It just looks so beautiful that I can’t wait to see it in its entirety.
Here’s the official plot synopsis for “Nightmare Alley:”
In NIGHTMARE ALLEY, an ambitious carny (Bradley Cooper) with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words hooks up with a female psychiatrist (Cate Blanchett) who is even more dangerous than he is.
Though Del Toro’s previous films have celebrated the strange and unique, as well as romances, “Nightmare Alley” seems like a complete 180. And yet, it still feels very much in his wheelhouse, considering that a monster, whether that is literal or figurative, is at the focal point of each of his films. So it will be fun to see how he explores that in this one.
The film also stars Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Rooney Mara, Ron Perlman, and David Strathairn.
“Nightmare Alley” is set to hit theaters on December 17, 2021.