J. A. Bayona’s A Monster Calls does not look like your ordinary children’s movie. It’s all about a boy whose single mother is terminally ill—which drives him to seek help from a monster. (A literal tree monster, not some kind of metaphorical one.) But it’s based on an acclaimed children’s book by the same name, penned by Patrick Ness—a classic children’s book in that it features a relatively simple, well-constructed surface story that belies its much darker, more complicated themes.
Liam Neeson voices the movie’s titular monster. In the trailer, we only see the creature’s hand and arm, and a bit of his torso, but Neeson’s slow, groaning narration is mesmerizing. Neeson joins an all-star cast that includes Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver, and given that Bayona directed The Orphanage, which seamlessly blended fairy-tale elements with nightmare-inducing horror, the movie itself could go much darker places than this trailer. A Monster Calls is due out Oct. 14, 2016.