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The First Trailer for Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley' Spins Up Psychological Thrills in a Carnival

Bradley Cooper plays a carnival worker, starring alongside Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette and Rooney Mara.
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2021
By Sarah Ward
September 17, 2021

It's been four years since Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water turned a creature feature into a love story, and won the filmmaker the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars in the process. That's four years that movie fans have had to wait for his next dance with horror — because the director behind everything from vampire flick Cronos and dark fantasy Pan's Labyrinth to kaiju-versus-machine effort Pacific Rim and gothic haunted house feature Crimson Peak sure does love twisting genre staples in his own ways.

Viewers love his work for doing just that, too, and del Toro's long-awaited next film looks set to continue the trend. With Nightmare Alley, he's forgoing Mimic's bugs, The Devil's Backbone's ghosts and Blade II's bloodsuckers in favour of spinning up psychological thrills in a carnival — and, as seen in the just-dropped first teaser trailer for the film, doing so with quite the impressive cast.

Here, Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born) plays carnival worker Stan Carlisle, who has a gift for using the right words to get people to do what he wants. That's a savvy — and manipulative, obviously — skill, and it proves even more so after he teams up with psychiatrist Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett, Where'd You Go, Bernadette).

Adapting William Lindsay Gresham's 1946 novel of the same name — which was already turned into a movie back in 1947 — Nightmare Alley also features Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse), Rooney Mara (Mary Magdalene), Toni Collette (Dream Horse), del Toro regular Ron Perlman (who starred in the director's original Hellboy movies) and The Shape of Water's Richard Jenkins. And, as the trailer shows, it's embracing its setting in a big way. Throughout his almost three-decade filmmaking career, del Toro has always given his features quite the entrancing look (see: everything mentioned above), and that doesn't seem to be changing here.

Expect things to get dark, story-wise, when the movie hits cinemas Down Under in January 2022. Expect big tops, carnival rides, Dafoe spruiking attractions, blindfolds, blood, fire and plenty of brooding looks, too, based on the trailer alone.

Check out the Nightmare Alley trailer below:

Nightmare Alley releases in Australian cinemas on January 20, 2022.

Published on September 17, 2021 by Sarah Ward


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