‘The Shape of Water’ trailer finds quirky, romantic charms in Guillermo del Toro’s monster manual

Guillermo del Toro may have officially lost his Hellboy franchise, but like so many fan-fic writers, he hasn’t given up on his romantically-charged Abe Sapien stories. So you’ll see in this first trailer for The Shape of Water, a film that takes the director’s monstrous fairy tale aesthetic to United States of the ’60s.

Sally Hawkins stars as Elisa, a mute night cleaner at a high-security government laboratory. In her duties one evening, she discovers a well-kept secret: some kind of gross fish-man (a mo-capped by Hellboy‘s Doug Jones, naturally) being held captive there. While the lab’s head (a predictably vile Michael Shannon) and other government higher-ups regard the creature as nothing but a beast, Elisa learns to communicate with it—and even begins to form something of a romantic relationship. It’s basically del Toro’s Cold War-era Creature from the Black Lagoon by way of a Jean-Pierre Jeunet-directed version of Splash. Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Richard Jenkins co-star.

The Shape of Water hits theaters December 8.

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