Joaquin Phoenix and Ari Aster team for the fever dream of the year in new ‘Beau Is Afraid’ trailer

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A24 and horror darling Ari Aster has more than earned his ability to drum up hype at the mere mention of his name; the filmmaker first made his mark with the universally acclaimed Hereditary before following up with the delightfully terrifying Midsommar a year later. Now, appropriately equipped with his most fearsome weapon yet in the form of Joaquin Phoenix, Aster will soon be emerging from the shadows with Beau Is Afraid, a surrealist horror-comedy that, if this brand-new trailer is anything to go by, can stake a claim for the strangest film of the year.

Beau Is Afraid stars Joaquin Phoenix in the titular role of Beau, an excruciatingly paranoid man who has a difficult relationship with his helicopter-parent mother, who raised Beau on her own. When he finds out that his mother dies, however, he begins an anxiety-ridden journey home, plagued with some zany threats ranging from ominous strangers to house arrest anklets, to stray bullets, to what appear to be 1920s film sets. Indeed, to say that Beau Is Afraid looks set to liquefy the minds of filmgoers everywhere might just be a bit of an understatement.

And it’s not just the subject set to have a field day with our psyches; Aster teased back in 2020, before we even knew the title of the film, that his next project would be a “nightmare comedy” that’s “four hours long.” Needless to say, if Aster has kept true to his word, then filmgoers will have to clear their schedules to catch this one in theaters, and if he and Phoenix can somehow manage to keep the weirdness trucking for half a day’s worth of sunlight, they’ll deserve rapturous applause.

Beau Is Afraid will release in theaters on April 21.