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Andrea’s Angle | “You Won’t Be Alone” – Unique and Evocative Twist on Witches

When I heard about You Won’t Be Alone, I was really intrigued. I love folklore and I’m always looking for stories about witches that say something new and different. After watching it, I found it to be exactly what I wanted, a creative, evocative, beautiful exploration of humanity and the power of love.

You Won’t Be Alone is an international horror/drama film written and directed by Goran Stolevski, in his directorial debut. The film is set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia. This film captures folklore elements with horror as it follows a young woman, Nevena (Sara Klimoska), who is turned into a witch by Maid Maria (Anamaria Marinca), who wants a young girl to teach. When Nevena doesn’t follow her instructions, Maria abandons her to go feral in the woods. Curious about humanity, Nevena learns to change shape after accidentally killing a peasant and using her shape to see what life is like in her skin. Nevena explores various shapes and lives but never can escape Maria. Will her desire for peace be achieved or will Maria’s fear of humanity prove true?

(L to R) Sara Klimoska stars as “Nevena” and Anamaria Marinca stars as “Maria” in director Goran Stolevski’s YOU WON’T BE ALONE, a Focus Features release.

This film is complex and creative, with layers of thoughtfulness. In fact, this film is one of the most thoughtful films I’ve seen. There are so many subtleties that I won’t be surprised if a second or third viewing brings new insights. What the film does beautifully is use the framework of a horror/folklore tale to create a study of humanity and what makes humans great. In the movie, Nevena lives several lives and learns about love. Her experiences with emotion, with love, change her and while she can never change her nature entirely, she finds a different way to live than Maria, who hates humanity so much that she can never find peace. Neneva’s experiences with humanity are the heart of the story.

By using less known folklore, Goran Stolevski has created a different spin on witches. In this film, we see witches as both good and evil, much like humanity itself. While there are plenty of bloody bits and horrific situations, most of the film is about the exploration of what it means to be a monster and what it is to be human. The film also conveys the idea that those who are different are just as human as those who fit into society and are as worthy of love, even though there are others who might be cruel. Some of the horror is as much on the side of humanity as it is on the witches. I really wish that I knew the folklore behind the film but it is an incredible amalgamation between the folklore and the creativity of the writer.

Noomi Rapace stars as “Bosilka” in director Goran Stolevski’s YOU WON’T BE ALONE, a Focus Features release.

One of the factors that bring it to such a powerful life is the way the performers bring it to life. The entire film is narrated by the character of Nevena (Sara Klimoska). Her voice carries much of the emotional weight of the film but what is unique is that none of her incarnations speaks a word in the film. Yet, each performer conveys emotion with a stark and spare resonance. As Bosilka (Noomi Rapace), Nevena#2 creates such joy in being human but also pain. The performance of Carloto Cotta as Boris, Nevena #3 is emotional and powerful. But her final shape, Biliana (Alice Englert) evokes sadness, fear, and pain so beautifully, you can feel both love and pain in equal amounts. Anamaria Marinca as Maria is complex and powerful. The acting is profound and evocative.

Alice Englert stars as “Biliana” in director Goran Stolevski’s YOU WON’T BE ALONE, a Focus Features release.

If there is one element that might cause American audiences an issue, it is the slow pace. In most American horror films, there is a great deal more action. This film is far more thoughtful and complex, a thoughtful exploration of the psychological terrors that face humanity. Unfortunately, that slower pace might be a detraction. It also is subtitled but if you are willing to read and willing to keep an open mind, I think you’ll find this film has a lot of complexity and emotion as well as an interesting story.

If you like foreign films or stories about witches, or even films that peel back the layers of what it means to be human, this film is worth your time. It is complex, different, emotional, and full of beautiful performances. The cast is excellent and the performances convey emotion subtly. The horror elements are slower but worth it for the ideas that they present, even in the bloodiest of scenes. If you like your horror to tell a film from the side of the monsters, this one is one I would highly recommend.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 shapes.

Official Website: You Won’t Be Alone | Official Website | April 01 2022
Facebook: @youwontbealonemovie
Twitter: @YouWontBeAlone
Instagram: @youwontbealonemovie
Hashtag: #YouWontBeAlone

 

You Won’t Be Alone

Genre: Drama/Horror

Set in an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, YOU WON’T BE ALONE follows a young girl who is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit. Curious about life as a human, the young witch accidentally kills a peasant in the nearby village and then takes her victim’s shape to live life in her skin. Her curiosity ignited, she continues to wield this horrific power in order to understand what it means to be human. YOU WON’T BE ALONE opens in theaters on Friday, April 1, 2022.

ONE-LINER: In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young girl is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit.


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