You Won’t Be Alone (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)
YOU WON’T BE ALONE (2022)
Starring Sara Klimoska, Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Felix Maritaud, Arta Dobroshi, Verica Nedeska, Djordje Misina, Kamka Tocinovski, Irena Ristic, Daniel Kovacevic, Predrag Vasic, Jasmina Avramovic, Teodor Vincic, Marija Opsenica, Jelena Velkovski, Milos Pantic, Senka Kolozova, Branislav Cubrilo and Veselina Mihajlovic.
Screenplay by Goran Stolevski.
Directed by Goran Stolevski.
Distributed by Focus Features. 108 minutes. Not Rated.
If you have been looking for a bloody tale filmed in an old-fashioned Macedonian dialect about an obscure-but-savage medieval witch creature (awkwardly referred to in the subtitles as a wolf eateress) and the mute woman she has cursed and tortured over a period of decades – well then maybe this is your film.
You Won’t Be Alone is an interesting merge of gruesome horror and arthouse dynamics, ripping flesh and social inequity, love and hate, pleasure and pain, humanity and otherness. It is vaguely like some other films which have come around in recent years – The Witch and The Cursed come directly to mind. Yet, at the same time, You Won’t Be Alone is very much its own creature.
I’m not sure it can really be called enjoyable, but it most certainly is rather fascinating.
Most of all, it is not exactly just a horror film, per se. While You Won’t Be Alone has many horrific occurrences, its agenda is much stealthier than being a mere blood-soaked tale. In a recent interview we did, co-star Anamaria Marinca, who plays the witch creature, referred to the film as a fairy tale.
To a large extent, she is probably right, although it is going with the original fairy tales which were much more violent and bloody than their modern translations of the stories. Yes, there is blood, and horrific acts, but they are not the be all and end all of the saga. Much more deviously, the movie uses the supernatural, magic and the past to comment on issues of the human condition which still resonate today, hundreds of years after the film takes place.
Essentially, You Are Not Alone tells the story of Nevena (played by Sara Klimoska as an adult). As an infant she was cursed and rendered mute by the creature, a well-known witch in her medieval village known as Old Maid Maria. Nevena’s mother talks Maria into sparing her life, and that on her 16th birthday she can be Maria’s daughter. The girl grows up feral, not understanding life or humanity or the powers that she has inherited from the witch.
Eventually she decides to enter the village, where she learns she has the ability to take over the bodies of dying people, and Nevena tries to learn what it is to be human by experiencing life as these others. At the same time, Maria is always watching, often foiling Nevena’s best laid plans, or at least inserting herself into them.
The world of the village is squalid, violent, and hard. However, Nevena eventually learns how to negotiate this world with her own powers to protect her. However, happiness and the feeling of fitting in always seems to be fleeting.
You Won’t Be Alone is not like most anything you have seen before. It’s smart and tragic at the same time, but it has an intriguing point of view and a much more open heart than you may expect.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2022 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: April 1, 2022.