Magical realism is one of our favorite genres, one that peels back the layers of what we think we know and ignites it with a terrifying beauty. So many of our favorite fables from yore occupy a magical realist world–Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, Pan’s Labyrinth–so we’re always stoked when a new title gets added to the mix. That’s why we’re super interested in this new trailer for Paradise Hills, an upcoming film from director Alice Waddington about a futuristic finishing school rendered in pastels and high fashion, with Emma Roberts in the center of what is either a magical fairytale or a frightening candy-colored nightmare.
On an isolated island, Uma (Roberts) wakes up to find herself at Paradise Hills, a facility where high-class families send their daughters to become perfect versions of themselves. The facility is run by the mysterious Duchess (Jovovich) where calibrated treatments including etiquette classes, vocal lessons, beauty treatments, gymnastics and restricted diets, revolve all physical and emotional shortcomings within two months. The outspoken Uma finds solace and friendship in other Paradise Hills residents — Chloe (McDonald), Yu (Awkwafina) and Mexican popstar Amarna (Eiza Gonzalez). Uma soon realizes that lurking behind all this beauty is a sinister secret. It’s a race against the clock as Uma and her friends try to escape Paradise Hills before it consumes them all.
The trailer only hints at all of the fantastical things that could lurk behind closed doors in this psychological flick. Is it pure fantasy, is it sci-fi, is it all in Uma’s head? All we can tell for now is that this looks like some kind of play on Alice in Wonderland and we’re super into the aesthetic.
Paradise Hills arrives in theaters on November 1.
Images: Samuel Goldwyn Films