'Little Joe' Trailer: Genetically Engineered Plants Turn Sinister

Keep this strange, beautiful red flower at an ideal temperature, feed it properly, speak to it regularly, and the genetically engineered "happy plant" will boost its owner's mood. There's no "no feeding it after midnight" rule, but something does go wrong in the care of the plant at the center of Jessica Hausner's eerie sci-fi film that plays like Gremlins meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

Little Joe follows a plant breeder whose new creation, which she dubs "Little Joe," is supposed to enhance people's moods. But nature has a different purpose in mind in the sci-fi thriller that premiered at Cannes earlier this year. Watch the Little Joe trailer below.

Little Joe Trailer

Magnolia Pictures debuted the unnerving trailer for Little Joe, which stars Emily Beecham, who received the Best Actress Award for the film at Cannes Film Festival this year, as well as Ben Whishaw, Kerry Fox and Kit Connor. Beecham stars as Alice, single mother and dedicated plant breeder who develops a new species of flower that, if kept at the ideal temperature, can make its owner happy. But something is amiss with this beautiful crimson plant. Alice, takes the plant home and her teenage son gets infected with its pollen, as does Whishaw's scientist. The two of them, alongside a growing number of scientists raising the plants, start to act strangely, forcing Alice to take action.

Directed by Jessica Hausner, Little Joe looks like an eerie sci-fi thriller that throws back to Invasion of the Body Snatchers in plot and Alex Garland's Ex Machina in tone. It's clinical, cold, unsettling, and has Ben Whishaw looking very sinister (Paddington, no!), which makes Little Joe seem like a very intriguing watch. The film made its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year and was selected to compete for the Cannes Palme D'or.

Here is the synopsis for Little Joe:

LITTLE JOE follows Alice (Emily Beecham), a single mother and dedicated senior plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. She has engineered a special crimson flower, remarkable not only for its beauty but also for its therapeutic value: if kept at the ideal temperature, fed properly and spoken to regularly, this plant makes its owner happy. Against company policy, Alice takes one home as a gift for her teenage son, Joe. They christen it 'Little Joe.' But as their plant grows, so too does Alice's suspicion that her new creation may not be as harmless as its nickname suggests.

Little Joe opens in theaters on December 6, 2019.