YOU WON’T BE ALONE is a new horror drama that offers an intriguing and fascinating folklore plot with witches. As always, the “monster” (in this case a witch) isn’t the only thing to fear. Since this story is set in 19th-century Macedonia, the people living in an isolated village also have quite dangerous worldviews.
Then again, there are also always love and kindness to be found. Can it be kept though? That’s the question our main protagonist struggles with. I enjoyed this movie quite a lot, though I know it won’t be for everyone. With actors like Noomi Rapace and Alice Englert in the cast, there are plenty of reasons to watch.
The main character was promised to a witch by her mother. It was a deal to save the girl’s life (the witch wanted to drink the baby’s blood). Of course, the mother has no intention of giving her daughter to the witch in the future. So, in order to protect her from being snatched up by the witch when she turns 16 years old (a classic fairytale plot), the mother hides her infant in a cave.
There, the baby grows into a young girl and then a teenager, but with no interaction with anyone except her mother. Oh, and to make sure the mother understood that the witch was serious, the baby’s ability to speak was also taken by the same witch. So, now the girl grows up in a cave, looking up at the sky through small holes, and only sees her mother.
Of course, this plan of protection doesn’t work, which means the witch still returns to find the girl when she turns 16 years old. You can never trick a witch that easily. However, now the girl has no knowledge of how the world works, so being taken out into the world as a servant of the witch is quite an ordeal.
In You Won’t Be Alone, the girl becomes a witch (the witch can turn one other person into a witch and uses it on her), which means she also gets the gift of shapeshifting. Into both other humans and animals. She does have to kill the thing she shapeshifts into first, so it’s not something you do lightly.
The girl also wants to leave the witch and go out on her own. She is allowed to do so (well, sort of, more in spite) and this is when the story really begins. The witch always follows the girl though, so she can never feel too safe. Originally, her name is Nevana and the actor playing her is Sara Klimoska, who does an amazing job.
As she shapeshifts, the character is played by Noomi Rapace (Black Crab), Alice Englert (The Serpent Netflix series), and Carloto Cotta (Élite Netflix series) to name the key actors in that respect. The witch, who curses her, is played by the amazing Anamaria Marinca (Invasion, The Old Guard). She’s unrecognizable until we get the origin story of how she became a witch.
It’s a fascinating watch though it surely won’t be for everyone. Also, the widespread comparison to The Witch isn’t exactly accurate.
Don’t compare You Won’t Be Alone to The Witch
I’ve seen lots of journalists and film critics compare You Won’t Be Alone to The Witch, but it really isn’t a fair comparison. Sure, the two movies both deal with folklore and witches. And yes, they have supernatural elements since the witches are real and not just imagined as in some horror movies.
However, The Witch is a dark horror movie with an eerie and creepy vibe. You Won’t Be Alone is a deeper horror drama where we follow one character for many years as they learn to maneuver around in a world that is very foreign to them. In that sense, it is much more like All the Moons. In that movie, the girl becomes a vampire instead of a witch but is also in a cave on her own for many years.
Goran Stolevski is the writer and director of this movie, which is his feature film debut. He has been writing and directing short films for a good 15 years though, so he knows his craft well already. And it does show in this feature-length debut!
While it’s a strong movie and one I will happily recommend, it does have more of a dark fairytale vibe than it does horror drama. So just be ready for that. However, there is lots of blood and body horror in it, so it is not for the faint of heart either. That combination is a bit tricky, so try to enjoy it for what it is and you should be pleased.
You Won’t Be Alone is out in limited theatrical release in the US and on PVOD from April 22, 2022.