You Won’t Be Alone is a sprawling, experimental film about human nature, the power of love, and the everlasting resentment of an unstoppable witch. It’s an incredibly confident debut feature from Stolevski and one that is sure to be talked about among the artsy-witch crowd that is still chewing on the fat of Hagazussa and November.
Written and Directed by Sundance alum Goran Stolevski’s You Won’t Be Alone stars Noomi Rapace (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, and Sara Klimoska. In a strange turn of events, most of the actors listed above play the same character in the film. It’s what helps give the film its kaleidoscope view of life, fragmented by tragedy but pieced back together again through this random assortment of characters. And it’s only once you’re given that bird’s eye view of this tragic story that it all begins to make sense, so make sure you stick it out. This is one flick that rewards dedicated, undistracted viewing.
“…a grim fable [and] a profound tale of the human experience.”
You Won’t Be Alone is a hard movie to write about becuase 1) I’m a dummy who doesn’t exactly have the words to describe what I saw, but also because 2) It is a super heady approach to your classic witch story where not much happens. First and foremost, this is an art film so it isn’t as concerned with plot as your average studio movie. Instead, it’s geared toward exploring the emotion of a scene. In short, a witch shapeshifts from one person to another stumbling through several people’s lives over a period of years, but that’s only scratching the surface of what makes this grim fable a profound tale of the human experience.
Art films love “the human experience”. In fact, every time you say the words out loud, a film student somewhere gets their wings. Don’t think for a second though that means this wasn’t one of my favorites of the fest (it was) or that the entire movie went over my head (it might have). I had a hard time locking in with the flow of You Won’t Be Alone‘s unique nature but once I made it through that uphill climb, the view was spectacular. And loaded with witches throwing guts around like confetti (always a bonus).
“…loaded with witches throwing guts around like confetti…”
When the story first begins, we meet a woman who has bargained away the soul of her only child to a witch, in order to save her life. Hoping that she can hide her infant daughter from the witch, she traps her in a cave away from the village, claiming that the child was eaten by a fictional beast. Despite her best efforts, the witch comes to collect 16 years later. Having confined this poor girl to a small cave her entire life, the young girl cannot speak but her disjointed narration underscores every moment of the film.
The witch is keen to teach this young girl how to hate humans but having never met another one (besides her mother) she’s fascinated by their curious ways. Through a series of misunderstandings, she takes on the presence of several people, living their lives for them until it’s time to move on and become another person. At first, she meanders through the village like an alien encountering the world for the very first time but over time she discovers firsthand the horrors and beauty of life. As she learns her narration becomes more profound and poetic, revealing a richer narrative about the tapestry of emotions that comprise a life and the damage that is inevitable when you choose to hold onto the bitter memories that overshadow your own happiness.
“…a sprawling, experimental film […and] an incredibly confident debut feature…”
You Won’t Be Alone can be a challenging watch, but not becuase it features an unrelenting assault of horrible imagery. Instead, it’s just a matter of recalibrating your brain for something a little less Wes Craven and a little more Ingmar Bergman. Uh-oh! Did I just accidentally let it slip that I watch art films from time to time? Better wrap this up and make a quick exit-
Sure, it also has a burned-up witch that is head-to-toe scar tissue who rips out people’s organs in order to become them, but it’s really a journey of self-discovery. You Won’t Be Alone is by no means a conventional movie, but it explores the one thing we all experience indepently: the complexity and the cruelty of a chaotic and fragile world that is as beautiful as it is beguiling.
Goran Stolevski’s You Won’t Be Alone celebrated its World Premiere at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. Click HERE to follow all of our Sundance 2022 coverage and be sure to let us know what you would do with your newfound witchy powers over on Twitter, Reddit, Facebook, and in the official Nightmare on Film Street Discord. Not a social media fan? Get more horror delivered straight to your inbox by joining the Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter.
Review: You Won't Be Alone (2022)
You Won't Be Alone is a sprawling, experimental film about human nature, the power of love, and the everlasting resentment of an unstoppable witch. It's an incredibly confident debut feature from Stolevski who crafts a grim fable and a profound tale of the human experience.