[FILM REVIEW] YOU WON’T BE ALONE Review (2022)


Summary:  In an isolated mountain village in 19th century Macedonia, a young girl is kidnapped and then transformed into a witch by an ancient spirit.

Year: 2022

Cinema Release Dates:  22nd September 2022 (Australia), 1st April 2022 (USA)

VOD Release Dates: TBA

Country: UK, Serbia, Australia

Director: Goran Stolevski

Screenwriter: Goran Stolevski

Cast: Leontina Bainovic (Nevena/Young), Amini Cishugi (Self), Carlotta Cotta (Boris), Arta Dobroshi (Stamena), Alice Englert (Biliana), Djorde Zivadinovic Grgur (Stoyan/Young), Anastasija Karanovich (Biliana/Young), Sara Kilmoska (Nevena), Anamaria Marinca (Maria/Wolf-Eatress), Felix Maritaud (Yovan), Djordje Misina (Miroslav), Marija Opsenica (Ur-witch), Milos Pantic (Dusan), Noomi Rapace (Bosilka/mother), Nikola Ristanovski (Milan), Irena Ristic (Elica), Danilo Savic (Yovan/Young), Komka Tocinovski (Yoana), Teodor Vincic (Vladimir), Mladen Vukovic (Stoyan)

Running Time: 108 mins

Classification: MA15+ (Australia), 15 (UK), R (USA)

OUR YOU WON’T BE ALONE REVIEWS

David Griffiths’ You Won’t Be Alone Review:

Dave’s rating Out Of 5

Kyle McGrath’s You Won’t Be Alone Review:

You Won’t be Alone is a fantasy horror film set in the 19th century and inspired by Macedonian folklore. It tells the tale of mute 16 year old Nevena (Sara Kilmoska) who’s mother has hidden her away in a cave since birth attempting to keep her safe from the evil shape shifting witch Old-Maid Maria (Anamaria Marinca). Inevitably the witch succeeds in capturing & transforming the girl into her protégée although frustrated by Nevena’s naivety & lack of malice quickly abandons her to wander the world alone. Completely isolated her entire life Nevena understands nothing of society or nature and after accidentally killing a nearby villager (Noomi Rapace) Nevena begins her new life as a skin walker taking the form of different people man or woman, adult or child experiencing a range of lifestyles as she attempts to understand this world. Always in the shadows Maria, bitter and twisted watches over her certain that Nevena will live a life as painful as her own.

A very peculiar and at times hard to watch film I first became interested due to the involvement of Noomi Rapace as executive producer as I’ve enjoyed many of the other weird and exciting films she has been involved with. Also a somewhat Australian film, it is shot entirely in Serbia in a Macedonian dialect but with post production provided by Film Victoria.

Macedonian Australian Writers/Director Goran Stolevski has traced myths and legends from his family’s homeland to create something familiar although with a fresh take which is not seen often on the big screen. European fairytales of evil witches and curses have been so watered down by Hollywood and made safe for children I appreciate when movies, books or video games get back to the nitty gritty and remember that these stories are actually supposed to terrify at times.

The decision to feature mostly in-camera and physical special effects is a wise one which pays off. With brutal gore, body horror and make-up effects throughout the only times I feel the effects hold the film back are those few instances where CGI was actually used. The results of which whether due to budgetary constraints or not appear out of place and inconguent with the natural flow the rest of the production has. I hate to say but the one time we see a transformation happening before our eyes it looks like something from the a late 1990s Nickelodeon kid’s show.

I can’t say enough good things about the beautiful scenery throughout this movie. A wider aspect ratio or at least transitioning to one later in the film, although gimmicky I think would have been beneficial as much is made of the world opening up to Nevena when she is finally freed from her protective confinement. The Serbian landscape provides at times both a picturesque yet haunting backdrop for this tale.

With multiple actors of varying ages and genders playing the same character this is a tall order for the cast with Rapace playing a much smaller role than one might think. She does however do the lion’s share as she plays ‘Nevena’ at her most curious at human interaction and social norms. Having never even had contact with another person save for her deceitful mother and the evil witch Rapace as Nevena delivers a heartbreaking and at times surprisingly amusing performance.

Not to be outdone the rest of the actors and actresses portraying Nevena do an amazing job at playing her at different points of her awakening and understanding of the world. Kilmoska who plays her at the beginning of the film and again several times throughout has the most screentime but everybody involved makes the role their own.

The overall standout of the film is Anamaria Marinca’s ‘Old Maid’ Maria. Between her performance and how Maria is written as a character this makes for one of the most interesting depictions of a witch I’ve seen in a movie. Although much screen time passes without her she is always in the back of your mind and you know she is watching.

Much like 2020’s Gretel & Hansel, You Won’t Be Alone is a twisted fairy tale showcasing the clash between two witches on opposite sides of the spectrum of morality however here I think much more is said about the very nature of the world, our roles within it and where we go from there. I honestly was not expecting to have moments of introspection while watching a supernatural fantasy film inspired by Macedonian folklore but Goran Stolevski has crafted a facinating movie which I highly recommend.

Average Subculture rating Out Of 5

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