Lenny Abrahamson Takes on the Horror Genre in ‘The Little Stranger’ Trailer

The ‘Room’ and ‘Frank’ director reunites will Domhnall Gleeson for his adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel.
The Little Stranger Domhnall Gleeson
By  · Published on June 13th, 2018

The ‘Room’ and ‘Frank’ director reunites will Domhnall Gleeson for his adaptation of the Sarah Waters novel.

In recent years, director Lenny Abrahamson has received a well-deserved level of acclaim, earning a Best Director nomination at the 2016 Academy Awards and widespread praise for Room. His 2014 film Frank was also hailed, with our own review describing it as “a bittersweet tale of some people who, no matter how talented they may be, do not need or want a spotlight.”

And now we have our first look at his take on the gothic horror genre with the trailer for his upcoming film, The Little Stranger:

The story of The Little Stranger, adapted from Sarah Waters’s 2009 novel of the same name, will see Domhnall Gleeson‘s Dr. Faraday entering into Hundreds Hall, a family home full of secrets and post-war trauma, to treat a patient. The film is set in 1947 and looks to deal with a possibly supernatural force consuming the estate, putting a gothic spin on the haunted house-style story.

In the trailer we see Faraday returning to the Hall, his mother’s former place of work, to treat Will Poulter‘s Roderick Ayres. Here he realizes not all is as he remembers it, discovering deeply buried secrets and unexplained happenings. Things ramp up, as the possibility that a young girl, who had died years ago, is stalking them beyond the grave looks more and more likely.

The images become increasingly frantic, showing all manner of disturbing events. The trailer then ends on Faraday mysteriously saying, “What happened next is a mystery to me,” hinting at even more unseen horrors to come. Gleeson’s delivery is chilling and leaves us eager for what awaits us on the other side.

While Abrahamson may not have taken on the horror genre before, this story appears to fit right in line with his storytelling sensibilities. His portrayal of trauma in Room was nothing short of haunting, after all. This should certainly play into Roderick Ayres, a character suffering from injuries and mental trauma after World War II.

He is seen in what looks to be a nightmarish dream sequence, surrounded by fire, conjuring up an image of a man overwhelmed by the horrors of his past. Abrahamson’s unique ability to create empathy for his characters, also seen in Michael Fassbender’s portrayal of the titular character in Frank, will certainly be interesting to see in the context of the genre.

Abrahamson’s work on Room also demonstrated his ability to work wonders with his locations, being able to make them feel as large or small as each scene requires. The claustrophobic feel is all over this trailer, with eerie shots from around the Hall and a feeling of being closed into this large space being all over this trailer.

Abrahamson has also made a career of crafting terrific performances. From Brie Larson’s moving portrayal of a mother raising her son in isolation in Room to Fassbender’s uniquely bizarre effort under a Frank Sidebottom-esque papier-mâché head in Frank. Not to mention Jacob Tremblay’s devastating breakout display in Room. And with the cast on display in this trailer, we have a lot to be excited for.

Having previously worked together on Frank, Abrahamson and Gleeson are reunited for The Little Stranger. While he may have entered many viewer’s radars with an impressive amount of quality supporting roles in recent years, Gleeson’s starring roles in films such as Ex Machina and Goodbye Christopher Robin have also been met with high praise. It’ll be interesting, then, to see what he does with what looks to be an intriguing lead role here, as the character discovering this unsettling situation.

Also seen in the trailer are the always impressive Will Poulter and Ruth Wilson. The latter may not be on a lot of people’s radar just yet, but after her outstanding performance in Clio Barnard’s Dark River, she’s certainly one to look out for. Her working with Abrahamson is certainly exciting, especially playing a character that looks to be hiding a number of dark secrets. And with her taking on one of the top roles in The Little Stranger, she’ll surely be getting considerably more recognition quite soon.

Abrahamson has proven himself to be an extremely impressive filmmaker in recent years, and with this trailer, the future looks bright for the director as he journeys into new territory.

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