What exactly is a “nightmare comedy”? Hereditary and Midsommar director Ari Aster has been hesitant to label his upcoming film, Beau is Afraid, as a horror. Given his track record, it’s easy to understand why others would leap to that conclusion. But now with the arrival of the film’s trailer, it’s still a bit murky as to what it actually is. Surrealist Horror, comedy, paranoid thriller? Eh, let’s just say it’s all of those things and never just one thing.
Starring Oscar-winner Joaquin Phoenix, the film clearly spans multiple generations in the life of his character. In the footage and the recent teaser posters we’ve seen versions of Phoenix’s Beau at different stages of life, from child (played by Armen Nahapetian) to very very old. The film is based on Aster’s short film, Beau, about a paranoid man who makes a fateful journey home to see his neurotic mother. That certainly seems to be part of the story here, at least.
Here’s the brief synopsis: A paranoid man embarks on an epic odyssey to get home to his mother in this bold and ingeniously depraved new film from writer/director Ari Aster.
It sorta looks like a Charlie Kaufman movie? Certainly, it’s got a guy dealing with psychological issues and some kind of existential crisis, surrounded by big, wacky characters. This is new terrain for Aster, and it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Let’s just hope the early description that it’ll be four-hours-long is an exaggeration.
Also in the cast are Nathan Lane, Amy Ryan, Stephen Mckinley Henderson, Hayler Squires, Denis Ménochet, Kylie Rogers, Armen Nahapetian, with Parker Posey, and Pattie Lupone.
Beau is Afraid hits theaters on April 24th.