Demi Moore Suffers for Youth in The Substance

“Have you ever dreamt of a better version of yourself?” the text under the trailer for The Substance reads. Elisabeth Sparkle (Demi Moore) clearly has. She’s lost her job for being too old, so when she gets a chance to try the titular substance—which will make her a younger, better version of herself—she goes for it. It looks, well, painful.

The trailer for Coralie Fargeat’s film is a bit coy about what exactly happens once Moore shoots herself up with the stuff, but there’s screaming, and violence, and blood and also a car crash in this hypnotic and chaotically bright trailer. There’s also Dennis Quaid, as creepy as humanly possible, insisting that “Pretty girls should always smile!” And Margaret Qualley closes out the whole thing with a knowing wink.

The Substance earned itself an 11-minute standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival this year, and went on to win Best Screenplay for writer-director Fargeat (Revenge). Early reviews are glowing; more than one calls the film the best performance of Moore’s career. The Toronto Star also said, “This masterful manifestation of cinema grotesque from Coralie Fargeat hat-tips and then one-ups David Cronenberg for body horror gross-outs. Midnight movie programmers and fans, start your engines.”

Try out The Substance for yourself when it arrives in theaters September 20th. icon-paragraph-end

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