We haven’t seen a new movie from Guillermo del Toro since he won a pair of Academy Awards for producing and directing The Shape of Water, and now we’ll have to wait a little bit longer for his next effort after Nightmare Alley was hit with a delay.
By the standards of the pandemic, it’s nothing major; the psychological thriller has been moved back two weeks from December 3rd to the 17th. The second adaptation of William Lindsay Gresham’s 1946 novel hasn’t been subjected to the release date domino effect, although the production itself was heavily affected by COVID-19 after del Toro made the call to shut things down in March 2020, and they didn’t pick back up again until six months later.
Unlike the majority of del Toro’s work, Nightmare Alley doesn’t contain obvious horror or fantasy elements, following a carny who partners up with a shady psychiatrist and ascends to becoming a headlining carnival act in his own right, leading to a trip down the darkest, sleaziest and seediest depths of a low-rent industry populated by hustlers, grifters and schemers.
The cast is about as stacked as you’d imagine, with Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in the two lead roles, while support comes from Willem Dafoe, Toni Collette, Rooney Mara, Tim Blake Nelson, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Jenkins and more. Del Toro’s good luck charm Ron Perlman is along for the ride, too, and a star-studded noir from one of the best directors in the business makes Nightmare Alley a very hot ticket.