SFF22: ‘You Won’t Be Alone’ Review

Goran Stolveski’s folk horror film is one of nuance and captivating visuals.

Courtesy of Focus Features

As I proceed with my coverage of the Sundance Film Festival this year I am stumbling across another of the films from the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. This film was one that interested me outside of it being an international flick. I was drawn by the horror aspects and plus it was being distributed by Focus Features. I looked into the film and found its premise interesting, so I decided to give this film a chance and I was pleasantly surprised as to what I watched!

You Won’t Be Alone is written and directed by Goran Stolevski in his feature film debut after working on various short films and television episodes. The film is set in 19th century Macedonia and follows the life of a woman who was kidnapped at a young age by a witch. The woman tours along by taking the shape of people after accidentally killing a peasant and taking their shape first. We follow along this journey of self-discovery and what it truly means to be alive. Along with existentialist themes, we also explore various characteristics of different experiences within the people she takes shapes of. A nuanced horror movie that is grounded in human connection, You Won’t Be Alone transforms its premise into a surprisingly captivating film.

You Won’t Be Alone was conflicting for me to say the least. On one hand, I think the film is poorly paced and its story drags way too much into the second half. On the other hand, I was mesmerized by its visuals and thematic elements that we analyze throughout the picture. I found myself enthralled by the way that scenes are lit, the camera moves, and its choice of angles especially when we get into our extreme close-ups. All of that was also helped by its 4:3 aspect ratio. Its writing is not the strongest but the film has a lot to say about motherhood, femininity, sexuality, and existentialism. Even though the film has its fair share of problems it still makes for a compelling watch that will definitely find its audience upon release.

Watch You Won’t Be Alone when it releases in theaters on April 1st.

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