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Watch the first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era monster movie

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Sally Hawkins stars as Elisa, ‘The Princess Without Voice’

The first trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water is here, and it shows the director going back to his dark fantasy roots. The trailer starts with voiceover, asking, “If I were to tell you about her, the Princess Without Voice, what would I say?”

The narrator seems to refer to Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute woman who works with her friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer) at a Cold War-era government facility. She stumbles upon some kind of Amazonian aquaman creature in one of the labs and develops an intimate friendship with it, much to the fury of a supervisor (played by Michael Shannon!), who does not understand sign language and appears to love yelling.

The film was co-written by Vanessa Taylor, who will also write Disney’s upcoming live-action Aladdin movie, and is best known for her work on the second and third season of Game of Thrones. Given del Toro’s fascination with taking classic fairy tales back to their moody and violent pre-Disney past, as well as the film’s R-rating, you can guess that things get pretty dark.

Hawkins is best known for her Academy Award-nominated role as Ginger in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine and her recurring role as Dr. Vivienne Graham in Legendary’s Godzilla MonsterVerse. The “creature” she meets will be played by frequent del Toro collaborator Doug Jones, who also played Abe Sapien in Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army, as well as the Faun and the utterly terrifying Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth.

The Shape of Water is set for wide release on December 18th.