First trailer for Nosferatu released: Our thoughts, theories, and immediate reactions

Robert Eggers' highly anticipated remake of Nosferatu hits theaters this December and we've finally got our first official look at the movie!
Lily-Rose Depp stars as Ellen Hutter in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC
Lily-Rose Depp stars as Ellen Hutter in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Courtesy of Focus Features / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC /

Finally, after much anticipation, Focus Features has released the trailer for Robert Eggers' remake of the 1922 classic Nosferatu. While the trailer doesn't give too much away, there's still plenty to unpack that has us stoked for Eggers' modern rendering of the famed vampire tale.

Though less than two minutes long, the trailer does reveal the major characters and a few plot points. Here are some of our theories and reactions.

What the Nosferatu trailer reveals about the plot and Count Orlok's potential victims/prey

For those who have seen F.W. Murnau's 1922 film, which was a loose adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula, some of the parallels are obvious and evident. It appears Count Orlok (Bill Skarsgård) will prey on three victims/characters, similar to Stoker's novel and Murnau's adaptation.

These characters include Thomas Hutter (Nicholas Hoult), who features rather prominently in the trailer, his wife Ellen Hutter (Lily-Rose Depp), and a character listed on IMDB as Anna Harding (Emma Corrin).

For those unfamiliar with the story, Thomas Hutter is essentially the Jonathan Harker character from Stoker's novel. He's the first to meet the Count because he visits his castle for a real estate transaction. Almost immediately, the Count feeds on him, which endangers his wife, Ellen, who is basically Mina, Harker's wife from the novel. It's clear from the trailer there's a similar set-up that will take place in Eggers' film, with Hoult's version of Thomas Hutter seen visiting Orlok's castle.

Nicholas Hoult stars as Thomas Hutter in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC /

If I had to guess, I'd surmise that the Anna character is similar to Lucy, Mina's best friend in the novel, who suffers some of the worst episodes once the vampire preys upon her. These are the three characters we see most in the trailer. There's also a brief shot of a Renfield-type character who bites the head off of a pigeon. That character is named Knock.

What the trailer reveals about the vampire hunters and Orlok's foes

The trailer not only reveals the vampire's prey, but it also reveals Orlok's main foes and the Van Helsing-type character, played by the legendary Willem Dafoe as Professor Albin Eberhart Von Franz. It appears he'll have some help based on a brief shot in the trailer and the listing on IMDB of Ralph Ineson as Dr. Wilhelm Sievers.

It's unclear, however, if Dafoe's character will be nearly as inept as the vampire hunters in the original Nosferatu. Without spoiling anything, I will say that it's not the men who defeat the monster in Murnau's film. Whether or not Eggers will change the ending and rewrite who defeats Orlok remains to be seen. The trailer mostly reveals the key characters and the danger they face.

He is coming and with him the plague

The trailer definitely succeeds at establishing Orlok as a major threat and force of unspeakable evil. Both Hutters and Anna look incredibly distressed, clearly victims of Orlok's powers and control. Not only that, but the shots of rats unleashed in the New World make it clear the vampire's shadow will grow, and, with it, the plague. This isn't going to be a handsome and attractive vampire. Here, like in Stoker's novel and Murnau's film, the fanged one represents death, famine, and disease. From shots of kids screaming, to the refrain of "He is coming," the trailer offers some serious end times vibes.

Willem Dafoe stars as Professor Albin Eberhart von Franz in director Robert Eggers’ NOSFERATU, a Focus Features release. Credit: Aidan Monaghan / © 2023 FOCUS FEATURES LLC /

Though the trailer doesn't fully reveal Orlok or Skarsgård in the make-up, it sets up the monster as a potent force. Like Stoker's novel and Murnau's brilliant adaptation, Eggers' version clearly establishes the vampire as a predatory beast with the power to unleash the plague. The trailer really showcases the vamp as a big bad without fully revealing him, and instead, showing only glimpses of him. It's a great tease.

Eggers maintains the Victorian era and gothic aesthetic

When this project was initially announced some years ago, I was curious to see if Eggers would shoot this in black and white, like his film The Lighthouse, which was set in the early 20th Century. He opted not to do that, but it's clear from the costumes that this is set in the Victorian era. While Eggers will make this his own film, the nods to German Expressionism and Murnau's stellar use of light and shadow are there, just as they were in The Lighthouse.

This is most apparent during the chilling scene in which a shadow of Orlok's hand looms over a city. The shots of Thomas Hutter heading to the Count's castle also reference Murnau's film. Eggers' version of those sequences looks just as disorienting and frightening. Judging from the trailer, they'll mark the point in which Thomas Hutter enters the Count's world and falls under his horrific spell. Further, the white text shown in the trailer looks like something out of an early 20th-Century German Expressionist film.

Nosferatu releases in theaters on December 25. The original film is public domain and available to stream online for free.

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