Surrealist “me too” horror fueled by a killer Alice Krige performance, She Will may not always be successful, but it is one hell of a wild ride. What would one do if one had the power to exact revenge on injustices through the power of their dreams? That is the central concept behind this eerie feminist thriller. The feature debut of director Charlotte Colbert (who also co-wrote the script with Kitty Percy) is a lavish and bizarre witch-tinged nightmare set in The Highlands—if that is not enough to at least pique one’s interest, I don’t know what else to say.
Krige plays Veronica Ghent, a troubled actress thrust into the spotlight at only thirteen years old with the smash hit movie, Navajo Frontier. Now, after a traumatic double mastectomy, Ghent is heading off on a solitary retreat to recover her body and spirit. Her young nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt) accompanies Veronica on a train zooming across the mountainous countryside on its way to the destination, giving her pills to numb the pain—“the breakfast of movie stars,” as Veronica calls it. After arriving at the sprawling mansion, Veronica is disheartened to learn she will not be alone (“I don’t do groups!”), and she has been misled into thinking it would be strictly a women’s retreat. With all roads flooded, Veronica and Desi are forced to stay the night, in spite of rooms that feel “a touch of Guantanamo.”
Scalpels slicing into flesh, blazing hallucinatory images, close-ups on snails—the haunting imagery knows no bounds, as Veronica and eventually Desi become immersed in their dreams. A long-awaited sequel to Navajo Frontier on the horizon seems to truly send Veronica off the deep end. It forces her to re-examine her relationship with sleazy Hollywood figure, Eric Hathbourne (Malcolm McDowell), and confront her past traumas head-on. McDowell’s cruel character thrives on controversy; this allows him to slip back into the shoes he once wore as despicable Dr. Loomis in Halloween 2. Veronica is a fascinating character as well. Her personality slowly reveals itself from the hard exterior to have a surprisingly tender interior. Her friendship with Desi ebbs and flows into the single most fascinating aspect of She Will.
This is the type of movie that crawls under your skin; personally, the more time I had to sit with my thoughts, the deeper it burrowed its way into my mind. The primary words I would associate to this film would be ‘strange’ and ‘beautiful.’ Cinematography is stunning, including breathtaking use of landscape. I am not entirely sure that everything functions into one cohesive whole. Despite this, She Will closes out in a satisfying character-driven epilogue that brings the movie full-circle. This may be my favorite Alice Krige performance yet, though I must admit I am partial to 1992’s disasterpiece, Stephen King’s Sleepwalkers.
She Will screened at 2021’s Fantastic Fest.