“Disgusting” horror movie that caused walkouts drops first trailer

Cameron Frew
Margaret Qualley in The Substance

A notorious horror movie premiered at this year’s Cannes Festival, causing walkouts and garnering acclaim – it’s called The Substance, and its first teaser trailer is here.

“This year’s goriest, bloodiest, craziest shocker,” one critic wrote. “An absolute onslaught of audacity— sound, imagery, and blood, tackling Hollywood’s obsession with female beauty,” another review reads.

While a third write-up makes a big claim: “We whooped, we gasped, and we clapped. It’s the grossest thing you will see all year.”

Longlegs is the horror movie on everyone’s minds right now, but The Substance should be on your watch list. It comes from the mind of Coralie Fargeat, the director behind 2017’s gnarly action movie Revenge. Check out the trailer below:

The teaser comes with an ominous logline, rather than a synopsis: “Have you ever dreamt of a better version of yourself? You. Only better in every way. You’ve got to try this new product. It changed my life.

“It generates another you. A new, younger, more beautiful, more perfect, you. And there’s only one rule: You share time. One week for you. One week for the new you. Seven days each. A perfect balance. Easy. Right? If you respect the balance… what could possibly go wrong?”

From the first wave of reviews, we have a rough idea of the story: Demi Moore plays Elisabeth Sparkle, an aging actress who takes a mysterious drug to become a younger, ‘better’ version of herself (Margaret Qualley).

It’s already been hailed as a modern body-horror classic, so without overexplaining, let’s just say the consequences of such a procedure are grisly.

According to IndieWire, the movie caused “plenty of expected walkouts”, and the response hasn’t been unanimously positive.

For example, Little White Lies wrote: “There’s no compassion here, and certainly no catharsis – just more hagspoiltation and a sense we’ve done this all before.”

The Times was similarly scathing, writing: “It is puerile, pointless and intellectually specious, deploying hollow Beauty Myth rhetoric to justify endless seedy close-ups of Qualley’s bum.”

The Substance hits cinemas on September 19, 2024. In the meantime, find out everything we know about Nicolas Cage’s serial killer in Longlegs and check out other new movies streaming this month.