Sandra Hüller as Hedwig Höss in The Zone of Interest

A24 Drops Chilling Trailer for Historical Drama ‘The Zone of Interest’

The Zone of Interest will soon be coming to theaters in the United States after causing a stir at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It took home the Grand Prix and FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes and nabbed a nomination for the Palme d’Or, the highest honor awarded to films at the festival. Additionally, the United Kingdom has already selected the film as their submission for Best International Feature Film at the upcoming Oscars.

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The historical drama is written and directed by Jonathan Glazer, who kicked off his career in 2000 with the critically acclaimed Sexy Beast. He is also the filmmaker behind Under the Skin, which was touted as one of the best films of 2013 despite struggling at the box office. Now, he’s teaming up with A24, the indie studio behind Everything Everywhere All at Once, for a new film with serious Oscar potential. The British-Jewish filmmaker is tackling the Holocaust in The Zone of Interest, which critics have described as a brutal and chilling take on the evil of indifference.

Here’s what we know about The Zone of Interest so far.

The Zone of Interest drops eerie trailer ahead of release

The Zone of Interest will arrive in the United States on December 8, 2023, after enjoying its world premiere at Cannes on May 19. Just ahead of its release, A24 dropped the official trailer for the historical drama for U.S. audiences.

Though brief, the intense and unsettling trailer lines up perfectly with critics’ descriptions of the film as chilling. The trailer is also crafted so perfectly that it doesn’t need to show anything horrific to fill viewers with a sense of dread and foreboding. On the surface, it just seems like a handful of clips of a happy family, but the soundtrack and captions alert viewers that there’s something else going on here. The Zone of Interest‘s trailer teases a haunting film that appears almost mundane on the surface, but builds up to something shocking and unspeakable.

Who stars in The Zone of Interest?

Christian Friedel as Rudolf Höss in The Zone of Interest
(A24)

The Zone of Interest is led by actor and singer Christian Friedel, who portrays Rudolf Höss. While The Zone of Interest is based on a work of historical fiction, its story focuses on the real-life Höss family. Rudolf Höss was a Nazi known for being the longest-serving commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp. Starring opposite Friedel is award-winning actress Sandra Hüller (Toni Erdmann) as Höss’ wife, Hedwig.

Anastazja Drobniak, Johann Karthaus, Luis Noah Witte, Nele Ahrensmeier, and Lilli Falk portray the Höss’ five children, Annagret, Hans, Claus, Inge-Brigitt, and Heidetraut, respectively. Also appearing in The Zone of Interest is Freya Kreutzkam as Eleanor Pohl, Ralph Herforth as Oswald Pohl, Max Beck as Schwarzer, Imogen Kogge as Linna Hensel, Ralf Zillmann as Hoffmann, and Medusa Knopf as Elfryda.

The Zone of Interest is based on a historical fiction novel

A group of people preparing to go for a swim in The Zone of Interest
(A24)

The official synopsis for The Zone of Interest reads:

The commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss, and his wife Hedwig, strive to build a dream life for their family in a house and garden next to the camp.

The Zone of Interest is loosely based on the historical fiction novel of the same name by Martin Amis. One of the characters in the book is a fictionalized version of Rudolf, though it never mentions him by name. Glazer’s film departs from the book by explicitly focusing on the Höss family. It’s not hard to understand why the film is described as disturbing and chilling, considering that Rudolf raised his family in a villa yards away from the Auschwitz concentration camp. Rudolf very much lived a nauseating double life, creating the illusion of being an affectionate family man while having the murders of an estimated one million Jews on his hands. His wife, meanwhile, claimed obliviousness. The Zone of Interest promises to be a deeply unsettling story that delves into the banality of evil, and how a family can go on living a picturesque life while unspeakable horrors are being enacted yards away.

(featured image: A24)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.