Juan Antonio Bayona brought us two different kinds of horror in his last two films The Orphanage and The Impossible. Now he is back to steep us in a much more common terror — that which overwhelms anyone dealing with a terminaly ill family member.
In this case, A Monster Calls centers on 12-year old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) who is coping with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) worsening illness, bullies at school, an absent dad (Toby Kebbell) and a rather unsympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver.)
When a monster, shaped as a giant tree (motion-captured and voiced by Liam Neeson), floods his branches through Conor’s bedroom, it’s the beginning of a tumultuous relationship — one that eventually brings understanding and comfort to this boy’s agonized life.
“I’m afraid,” Conor confesses in the film’s new trailer, which you can watch above.
The monster replies, “Of course you are afraid. But you will make it through, for this is why you called me.”
A Monster Calls is based on a graphic novel by Patrick Ness, who adapted his own screenplay. Bayona, who will next direct the sequel to Jurassic World, is a wizard when it comes to uniting visual spectacle with emotional storytelling. The film will be released by Focus Features on Oct. 21.