You Won’t Be Alone        review by Bobby Blakey

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Ever since I first saw Noomi Rapace in the original Swedish Millennium seriesThe Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, I have been a fan. I knew nothing of her latest film You Won’t Be Alone, but with her involved I was instantly interested. The film also stars Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, and Sara Klimoska from director Goran Stolevski. Could this film offer up something new in the world of witches or will it be a curse not worth passing along?

You Won’t Be Alone follows an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, where a young girl 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.

 

First I need to be clear that while Noomi Rapace is in fact in this film with a decent size part she is far from the only star. She doesn’t even show up for quite a bit so was starting to think I was wrong about her being in it. In actuality the story this film tells focuses on a number of people and that in lies where the film works better than it might have otherwise. This is a strange one as I have been sitting with it trying to decide if it was brilliant or bad, if Ioved it or hated it and the answer is all of the above.

 

It’s a great film that does some creative things with the witch mythos that offers up a compelling narrative and allows it to keep the story moving in constant fresh new directions. This also dives deep into the tropes of the story with ideals about status, sexuality, abuse and so much more. It is actually a pretty heavy story and the message her is important, but could also get lost in the strangeness of it all.

 

On the other side it is also very slow paced and at times hard to stick with. It’s never boring, but gets to the mundane dealing with the life of each of

these people which is part of why it works, but also why it might be hard for some to stick with. Once you know where it is heading it makes it easier to stick with it in anticipation of the next journey. It’s not a scary or overly violent film, but there is some gore here that is really well done and a clever take on how these characters evolve.

 

The cast are all great here as they have many levels to deal with in regards to emotions and character traits with a lot having to be sold with very little dialogue. This is for sure a unique flick that I think is a piece of brilliant, dark, bloody, gritty cinema that will likely only work for some people willing to allow themselves to get fully invested. I can fully see people either not able to get through it or not enjoying it for the sheer tone of it all, but that is also what will make it work so well for others.

 

Decide for yourself and check out You Won’t Be Alone when it hits theaters on April 1st from Focus Features.