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Joaquin Phoenix Gets Trapped in a Surreal Nightmare in the Trailer for Ari Aster's 'Beau Is Afraid'

New film by the 'Hereditary' and 'Midsommar' writer/director, new mind-warping cinema experience.
By Sarah Ward
January 12, 2023
By Sarah Ward
January 12, 2023

Prepare to feel stressed, movie lovers. Prepare to be plunged into an on-screen nightmare, too. That's Ari Aster's gambit, as the US filmmaker demonstrated with two of the eeriest, creepiest movies of the past five years: 2018's Hereditary and 2019's Midsommar. So, of course the trailer for his long-awaited new flick Beau Is Afraid is unsettling. In fact, it'd probably be even more distressing if it wasn't.

Move over Toni Collette and Florence Pugh — this time, Joaquin Phoenix is getting the disquieting works thrown at him, in the actor's second film since picking up an Oscar for Joker. He plays the eponymous Beau, who just wants to go home to see his mother when the just-dropped trailer for the April-releasing movie starts. Then he gets run over by a woman and shackled with an ankle monitor by a doctor (aka Only Murders in the Building costars Amy Ryan and Nathan Lane).

The latest US release by adored studio A24, which is currently even more abuzz after Everything Everywhere All At Once's Golden Globes wins, Beau Is Afraid doesn't saddle its namesake with hauntings and cults. Its trailer isn't as grimly dark as Hereditary, either, or a sunshine-filled daylight horror show like Midsommar. But it does paint a picture of Beau as a lonely, paranoid man — his phone's recent-call list is heavy on chats with his mum, therapist, landlady and pharmacy — dreaming about past family holidays, popping medication, and eating Hawaiian and Ireland-themed TV dinners before he ends up being held hostage.

Once again, Aster writes and directs, with viewers able to see the end result in April — with the US getting an April 21 release date, and Down Under distributor Roadshow locking in an April 20 date.

Also part of Beau Is Afraid's first trailer: an epic journey, multiple versions of Beau, whimsical dreamscapes and Beau not having any idea what's going on.

And, also among the cast: Patti LuPone (American Horror Story), Denis Ménochet (The French Dispatch), Kylie Rogers (Yellowstone), Parker Posey (The Staircase), Stephen McKinley Henderson (Causeway), Hayley Squires (The Essex Serpent), Michael Gandolfini (The Many Saints of Newark), Zoe Lister-Jones (How It Ends) and Richard Kind (The Watcher).

Check out the trailer for Beau Is Afraid below:

Beau Is Afraid opens in cinemas Down Under on April 20.

Published on January 12, 2023 by Sarah Ward
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