One of my guilty pleasures is watching films about witches and evil powers. With his full-length feature film debut, writer and director Goran Stolevski brings us You Won’t Be Alone, a film that includes these elements and much more. It is also visually enticing and emotionally moving.
Although this was Stolevski’s first full-length film, he has done a series of short films with emotional themes that loosely tie into You Won’t Be Alone. His short films include: Blood (2008), which involved an affair, a disease, a birth, and a death; Today Is Not the Day (2015), about someone losing a good friend and a couple’s relationship falling apart; and You Deserve Everything (2016), about a doctor having a relationship with an interpreter who works at his hospital.
You Won’t Be Alone is set in Macedonia in the 19th century. We are introduced to Nevena, played by Sara Klimosksa, who is kidnapped by an ancient spirit known as Maria, played by Anamaria Marinca. Nevena is tormented and abused by Maria, and Novena begins to develop her own witch powers, including the ability to shift herself into someone else’s body. Nevena’s abuse at the hands of Maria leaves her in despair and makes her feel disconnected. She’s desperate for a change in her life and ends up killing a peasant girl named Bosilka, played by Noomi Rapace, and shifting into her body to experience life as an actual human. Nevena just wants a normal life where she can feel loved.
You Won’t Be Alone reminded me in some ways of the movie Room (2015). It was similar in that Room was also about a young person who was stuck in in a world of isolation and abuse, and was desperate for a normal life. Fantasy films have often been overdone by the big franchise studios, but You Won’t Be Alone has an exhilarating screenplay and is authentic and creative without being overdone.
I did not expect the emotional component of You Won’t Be Alone, but it certainly added to the experience. Fans of witchcraft, vampires, or ancient spirits will love the surreal aspects of the film. Like many such fantasy films, it has some disturbing moments. But the focus on Nevena striving to find a happy place and escape Maria’s evil world takes it to another level. Three and a half stars for You Won’t Be Alone.