The original teaser for A Monster Calls released last year was heavy on atmosphere, but pretty light on tree monsters. The newly released trailer not only amends that problem, but gives us a full array of stunning and fantastic visuals. The award-winning children’s book that formed the basis of the film was conceived by British author Siobhan Dowd after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Unfortunately, she wasn’t able to produce the manuscript before succumbing to the disease, so American expatriate Patrick Ness nursed the idea onto the page, allowing its unfortunate provenance to imbue the book with hopeful melancholy.
The story follows an introverted and bullied 12-year-old boy named Conor (Lewis MacDougall), whose mother (Felicity Jones) is afflicted with the same illness that struck Dowd. Somehow, the sad and confused kid accidentally manages to summon an enormous anthropomorphic tangle of branches and leaves (voiced by a particularly gravel-throated Liam Neeson) who upends his already chaotic life. Director J.A. Bayona (The Orphanage, The Impossible), working from Ness’ script, seems to have his thumb firmly on the pulse of the novel, if this preview is any indication.
A Monster Calls will make its way into theaters this fall.