You Won’t Be Alone

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You Won’t Be Alone

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

A young shape-shifting witch tries to live a normal human life in an isolated mountain village in You Won't Be Alone. Nevena () is a teenager in 19th century Macedonia, who is kidnapped by the “Wolf Eateress” Old Maid Maria (). Nevena is turned into a follow Wolf Eateress, which is a shape-shifting witch that can take the form of corpses. Not wanting to live a nomad life in the woods feeding on the blood of animals, Nevena enters a nearby village and takes the form of peasant woman Bosilka (), in order to try and experience a normal human life.

You Won't Be Alone is a Macedonian folk-horror film from first-time writer-director Goran Stolevski. In the film's prologue, a woman named Yoana (Kamka Tocinovski) pleads with the horribly scarred witch Old Maid Maria to allow Yoana's infant daughter Nevena to grow up before taking her. Maria agrees to the deal and despite Yoana's efforts to hide Nevena in a cave, the witch comes to claim her new companion after she turns 16. Nevena is mute as a result of her first encounter with Old Maid Maria and she uses her inner monologue to reflect on her experiences as a shape-shifting “Wolf Eateress.”

While featuring a lot of gory violence, with the process of the Wolf Eateress' shape-shifting involving inserting a corpse's organs into a cavity in your chest, You Won't Be Alone actually ends up being an introspective film, with the protagonist Nevena contemplating what it means to be a human. It isn't too much of a spoiler to say that over the course of the film, Nevena ends up killing and taking the form of many people in this small mountain village, with the first and most recognizable being played by Noomi Rapace (The Girls with Dragon Tattoo, Lamb), who also serves as an Executive Producer on the film.

While Nevena tries to experience a normal life in this village, she is repeated taunted by Old Maid Maria, who believes that it is only a matter of time before Nevena is found out as a witch and lynched by the villagers. Even though she is presented in the film as the main antagonist, the film eventually presents Maria in a somewhat sympathetic light through a flashback that shows both how she became a Wolf Eateress herself and how she came to be horribly burned, the make-up of which makes the character look more than a little like Freddy Krueger.

While You Won't Be Alone is a film distributed by Focus Features, the film does end up offering a similar “elevated” take on the horror genre as the films by A24, with the film often being much more an introspective drama. The end result is an interesting character study about what it means to be human.

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Trailer for You Won't Be Alone

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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