It’s a bold move for studio Searchlight Pictures to release Guillermo del Toro’s Nightmare Alley on December 17, and while counter-programming can often yield decent business, it’s the riskiest gambit of the year going directly head-to-head with Spider-Man: No Way Home at the box office.
Of course, the two projects are aimed at entirely different demographics, with del Toro’s first feature since he won two Academy Awards for directing and producing The Shape of Water set to take audiences on a tour through the seedy underbelly of the American Dream, where nothing is as it seems.
Ahead of Nightmare Alley‘s impending release, the first wave of reactions have now arrived online, and it certainly sounds as though we’ve got another acclaimed and atmospheric genre piece on our hands.
Nightmare Alley follows Bradley Cooper’s Stanton Carlisle and Cate Blanchett’s Lilith Ritter, a carny and psychologist who get drawn into a dark and twisted conspiracy that yields untold chaos and deadly, dangerous results. Based on the overwhelmingly positive early responses, we could be looking at a potential awards season contender as del Toro puts a fresh spin on the tropes and trappings that have largely come to define his career by delivering an altogether different type of fantasy.