Frank and Room helmsman Lenny Abrahamson tries his hand at a ghost story in The Little Stranger trailer. The Irish director has been making films since the early 2000s, but didn't pop up on most people's radars until he released Frank in 2014. Abrahamson's dramedy about a troubled musician (Michael Fassbender) who always wears a papier-mâché mask was widely celebrated, and served to cement the filmmaker's status as someone to watch. He then followed that film up by adapting Emma Donoghue's best-seller Room into a Best Picture-nominated drama that took home an Oscar for Brie Larson's performance.
Three years later, Abrahamson is back with Little Stranger, an adaptation of Sarah Waters' 2009 gothic novel and the director's second time working with Dohmnall Gleeson after Frank. Set during the "long hot summer" of 1947, the films stars Gleeson as Dr. Faraday: a country doctor who travels to treat a patient at Hundreds Hall, the estate where his mother served as a handmaiden many years before. Focus Features began showing The Little Stranger trailer with select prints of Hereditary in theaters this past weekend, but the preview is now online for everyone to watch. Take a look in the space above.
While it occupies a different genre than either Frank or Room, Little Stranger is similar to both films in the sense that it focuses on the experiences of a traumatized individual; in this case, Roderick Ayres (Will Poulter), a war veteran and member of the Ayres family, which has lived in Hundreds Hall for centuries. As the trailer illustrates, Little Stranger focuses on Faraday's efforts to help Roderick, during the course of which he uncovers secrets about not only the Ayres, but even his own personal history at their crumbling manor. In doing so, however, he comes to realize that his patient may be haunted in ways both figurative and literal.
Little Stranger dives into the debate of spirituality versus rationalism by pitting Faraday's scientific way of thinking against a situation that, based on the trailer, seems to demand some kind of supernatural explanation. The trailer and poster further suggest that Little Stranger will try to avoid tipping its hand too early on in that respect, and maintain a sense of mystery around the question of whether or not the Ayres are really being tormented by an actual ghost. In doing so, the film aims to dig as deeply into its characters' emotional and psychological struggles as Frank and Room did before it.
Fortunately, Little Stranger screenwriter Lucinda Coxon knows her way around a gothic supernatural thriller, having previously done uncredited script work on Guillermo del Toro's Crimson Peak. The cast here is similarly impressive, with Charlotte Rampling and Luther's Ruth Wilson feeling right at home in this sort of atmospheric period horror story. The Little Stranger is arriving in theaters at the end of August, so fingers crossed it will prove to be a late summer indie gem (a la last year's Good Time) and keep Abrahamson's impressive filmmaking streak going strong, when it comes to quality.
Source: Focus Features