Fox Searchlight’s new red band trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water gives those of us who couldn’t attend the Venice Film Festival a much clearer look than previous trailers at the mysterious “asset,” the by-turns fanciful and frightening aquatic man at the center of the Cold War parable.

Played by Doug Jones, the aquatic man – in part, an apparently big, loving nod by del Toro to that great Hollywood creature from the Black Lagoon – forges an unlikely relationship with Elisa (Sally Hawkins), the mute, lonely woman who cleans the top-secret government facility that houses the captured “asset.”

Fox Searchlight

Del Toro’s romantic fantasy, which also stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer and Richard Jenkins, won the Golden Lion in Venice earlier this month.

Described by Deadline’s Nancy Tartaglione as a mix of “fantasy, romance, a B-movie thriller plot, old Hollywood style and more,” The Shape of Water made one of the most emotional Venice debuts in recent memory. Tartaglione reported that shouts “of ‘Bravo!’ were accompanied by hoots and hollers. The film also elicited sobs of joy.”

This new trailer also conveys the film’s humor more explicitly than the earlier official clip, as when Elisa uses sign language to give Shannon’s clueless, villainous government official a message that begins with an “f” and a “u”.

Fox Searchlight plans December 8 domestic release. Take a look at the trailer above and let us know what you think.