The Oscar-winning director takes on a new genre in his highly anticipated next film.

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Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

Nightmare Alley (2021 movie)

The last time Guillermo del Toro directed a film, it won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. At long last, we have a teaser for his follow-up film: Nightmare Alley.

Unlike past del Toro films like The Shape of Water or Pan's Labyrinth, Nightmare Alley doesn't involve fantastical creatures. Instead, Nightmare Alley — based on the novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, which was previously adapted into a 1947 film starring Tyrone Power — is rooted in noir.

Rather than featuring superhuman powers or paranormal phenomena, Nightmare Alley depicts humans pretending to be supernatural. Protagonist Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) starts out in a spooky, low-rent carnival, where he learns a mind-reading trick that he then tries to use to swindle rich people — but psychiatrist Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) wants to disprove him.

Nightmare Alley
Bradley Cooper in 'Nightmare Alley'
| Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures

Rooney Mara also stars as Molly, a young carnival worker who becomes Stanton's girlfriend and assistant. Mara's presence in the cast alongside Blanchett makes this film a Carol reunion on top of everything else.

The trailer opens with Carlisle's arrival to the carnival, as we hear narration from barker (Willem Dafoe) enticing a crowd to "step right up and behold one of the unexplained mysteries of the universe: Is he man or beast?" It's a question that's repeated twice more as we see snippets of Carlisle rise to success, and tangle with Dr. Ritter, who the trailer's description warns "is even more dangerous than he is."

Nightmare Alley hits theaters Dec. 17. Check out the trailer above, and some striking stills below.

Nightmare Alley
Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures
Nightmare Alley
Willem Dafoe runs a disreputable carnival in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'
| Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures
Nightmare Alley
Bradley Cooper and Rooney Mara star in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'
| Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures
Nightmare Alley
Tarot reader Zeena (Toni Collette) in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'
| Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures
Nightmare Alley
Stanton Carlisle (Bradley Cooper) meets Dr. Lilith Ritter (Cate Blanchett) in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'
| Credit: Kerry Hayes/Searchlight Pictures

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Nightmare Alley

Nightmare Alley (2021 movie)

Guillermo del Toro tries his hand at noir in this story about an ambitious young carny with a talent for manipulating people.

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  • Movie
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director
  • Guillermo del Toro

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