Even though the Macedonian film “You Won’t Be Alone” takes place in the 19th century the characters that inhabit the story exist in a timeless vortex of rural life.
“You Won’t Be Alone” has the look of a film shot hundreds of years ago by a documentary crew situated in a small village undergoing the throes of superstition and witchcraft. Those are two things that can easily intertwine.
Specifically “You Won’t Be Alone” reveals in the Terrence Malick style seen in films like “A Hidden Life.” Voice over narration conveys significant counterpoint to the visual surrealism.
A purported witch is burnt to death. Only she survives the flames and continues to haunt the village that ostracized her. The witch wears no colette, is scarred red with welts and appears throughout the film as a scrawny adversary even as the question persists as to whether she’s good or bad.
The witch burning scene emulates “Witchfinder General” itself one of the core films of folk horror. It’s a late ’60s flick starring Vincent Price that shows witches being burnt at the stake only in this case they are tied to ladders that slowly lower the victims into the flames. Our heroine witch waits for the heat to burn the ropes and gets up and walks away. Not before staring daggers at her oppresors.
“You Won’t Be Alone” overcomes the barrier of art house fare mixed with horror and will be welcome by fans of both. Noomi Rapace is listed as the star but she’s one of many distaff characters that wander in and out of the story as the witch takes many forms.