Entertainment Movies See Bradley Cooper and Cate Blanchett in Dark Trailer for Guillermo de Toro's 'Nightmare Alley' The film is director Guillermo de Toro's first since the Oscar-winning Shape of Water By Ally Mauch Published on September 17, 2021 11:33 AM Share Tweet Pin Email The first look at Nightmare Alley is here. On Thursday, the trailer dropped for director Guillermo de Toro's highly-anticipated new movie, which is set to premiere in theaters Dec. 17. Based on William Lindsay Gresham's 1946 novel of the same name, the thriller stars Bradley Cooper as Stanton "Stan" Carlisle, an ambitious carny with a talent for manipulating people with a few well-chosen words. Stan teams up with psychiatrist Dr. Lillith Ritter (Cate Blanchett), who proves to be even more dangerous than he is. In the new trailer, the circus setting is made eerie by various instances of blood, fire and violence, as well as a narrator who repeatedly asks the question: "Is he man or beast?" "Step right up in the home of one of the unexplained mysteries of the universe — is he man or beast?" the narrator says. Searchlight Pictures West Side Story First Trailer: See Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler in Steven Spielberg's Remake The voice continues, "This creature has been examined by the foremost scientists and pronounced unequivocally a man. I am prepared to offer you folks one last chance to witness this supreme oddity." At the end of the clip, the narrator further teases, "You're in luck because tonight you will see him feed." "Come on in and find out — is he man or beast?" he says as Cooper's character is shown sitting calmly in a chair while the room around him is engulfed in flames. In addition to Cooper and Blanchett, the star-studded cast for Nightmare Alley includes Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Willem Dafoe, Richard Jenkins, Ron Perlman, David Strathairn, Clifton Collins Jr., Tim Blake Nelson and Mary Steenburgen. Searchlight Pictures Netflix Debuts Tense Trailer for Jake Gyllenhaal's Thriller The Guilty The film is del Toro's first since Shape of Water, which earned him the awards for Best Director and Best Picture at the Oscars back in 2018. Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. He previously opened up to Collider about how Nightmare Alley is different from his previous movies because it contains "no supernatural elements." "Now is the first chance I have to do a real underbelly of society type of movie," del Toro said in 2019. "[There are] no supernatural elements. Just a straight, really dark story." Nightmare Alley hits theaters Dec. 17.