For as often as “visionary” is thrown around as it relates to filmmakers who favor the visual end of the medium, Guillermo del Toro is among the few who truly earns that title (and then some). From the much-loved Pan’s Labyrinth to the terminally misunderstood Crimson Peak, del Toro has emerged as one of modern filmmaking’s most distinctive voices as both a stylist and a storyteller. Now the director will return at the end of 2017, with another story of a misunderstood soul trying to survive against the most savage monsters of all: human beings.
The first trailer for The Shape of Water introduces Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who works as part of the custodial staff for a top-secret government laboratory in 1963. Her days are mostly lonely, and beholden to routine, until she and her coworker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a strange, amphibious-looking being in the lab, a sentient creature (Doug Jones) living in captivity. Soon Elisa forms a genuine connection with the creature, only to discover that others in the lab (Michael Shannon, Michael Stuhlbarg) have their own plans for it, some of which may put its life, and Elisa’s, in grave danger.
From the period detail to the gorgeous underwater palette shown off in the trailer, The Shape of Water looks to be another must-see offering from one of the more unique directors currently working. (The trailer also does little to dispel those early rumors that the creature may be connected in some way to Abe Sapien, from del Toro’s Hellboy movies.) The film will be released on December 8th, and it’s hardly out of the question for del Toro to garner some year-end attention accordingly.