‘You Won’t Be Alone’ is a Witchy, Bloody Fairy Tale

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You Won’t Be Alone (CREDIT: Branko Starcevic/Focus Features)

Starring: Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud, Sara Klimoska

Director: Goran Stolevski

Running Time: 108 Minutes

Rating: R for Violence, Blood, and Sexaul Content – All Involving Witches

Release Date: April 1, 2022 (Theaters)

You Won’t Be Alone is the type of movie that will make you feel like your mind has been altered if you look away for just a minute. And honestly, that’s a big part of the gnarly appeal. Time jumps ahead without any hand holding, while major characters shapeshift all over the place. Not to mention it’s in a language I’m unfamiliar with, though I’d be surprised if any native Macedonian speakers find it straightforward. So go ahead and watch You Won’t Be Alone while you’re fighting insomnia or in the middle of a bleary-eyed food coma. Or if you’re a recreational drug user, consider this an ideal opportunity to indulge. But even if you’re fully awake and 100% sober, the odds are still high that your brain will be squeezed into another dimension.

For a description a little more straightforward, here’s the logline from the film’s PR team:

“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.”

My response to reading that after watching the movie is, “Oh. I guess that’s what happened.” If I were pitching it, I would personally probably keep it a little simpler and say something like: the hallucinogenic cultural subconscious of fairy tales spills out phantasmagorically across the European woodlands. The bottom line is, Macedonian-Australian writer-director Goran Stolevski is throwing together a wide array of influences here that are bound to satisfy widescreen-loving cineastes, as well as English majors who tend toward the sylvan supernatural.

If it sounds like I’m being vague about what actually happens in this movie, well, that’s because I’m a little wary of describing anything concretely for fear of totally misinterpreting everything. But don’t let that scare you away! Sometimes it’s okay to let a film confound you, and it’s also totally okay to ask someone else what happened. And if your buddies don’t know either, you can try to figure it out together! After all, you shouldn’t have to feel alone while watching You Won’t Be Alone.

You Won’t Be Alone is Recommended If You Like: Midsommar, The Witch, Grimm fairy tales, Terrence Malick

Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Witches

In ‘The Old Guard,’ Immortality is a Burden and a Blessing

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THE OLD GUARD – Charlize Theron as ÓAndy” (CREDIT: Aimee Spinks/Netflix)

Starring: Charlize Theron, Kiki Layne, Matthias Schoenarts, Marwan Kenzari, Luca Marinelli, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Harry Melling, Van Veronica Ngo, Anamaria Marinca

Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood

Running Time: 125 Minutes

Rating: R

Release Date: July 10, 2020 (Netflix)

I’m trying something out with some of my recent movie reviews in which I ask myself, “Does this movie make me want to do what the movie is about?” So therefore I ask of you, The Old Guard, “Do you make me to be immortal?” To which I answer, “No, you do not.” But in the interest of fairness, I must acknowledge that Charlize Theron and her crew aren’t quite immortal, so really I should be asking, “Do I want to live for thousands of years and then become suddenly, unpredictably vulnerable to death?” To which I would then respond, “Not particularly.” But I don’t really suppose that The Old Guard is advocating for immortality or near-immortality. If anything, it wants us to ask ourselves, “Will I take advantage of my gifts to transcend myself and make the world a better place?” And my answer in that case is, “Of course!” It takes a while to get that point, though.

I give The Old Guard 3 Bullet Wounds out of 5 Millennia.