She Will Image

She Will

By Alex Saveliev | July 20, 2022

In a deluge of cinematic rehashes, writer-director Charlotte Colbert offers something bright, new, and challenging with her phantasmagorical visual trip, She Will. Resembling a gradual immersion into a fever dream, the film slyly pays tribute to surrealist greats like Alejandro Jodorowsky and Dario Argento (“presented by” the latter director, it wears the tag proudly), yet also introduces a unique new talent with a fresh, distinct vision.

Having undergone a traumatizing mastectomy, former movie star Veronica (Alice Krige) escapes to a solitary retreat in Scotland, bringing along her nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt). “What I need from you are bandages and the occasional bath. Understood?” Veronica tells Desi, establishing the power dynamic early on. Expecting an all-female retreat, the ladies are caught off-guard when they are met by a nightmarish group consisting mostly of intimidating, chanting men.

They find some respite in an isolated cabin, yet horrific visions still torment Veronica: dark sludge oozing towards her, seeping into her bath; fragments of dark memories; and a nightly coven around a fire. She reluctantly participates in group activities, but something about the place acts as a catalyst to Veronica’s visions, making her confront a tragic incident. The woman’s steely veneer curls away as she begins to fade.

Veronica has developed an ability to enact revenge upon sexist men in her dreams.”

I’m having dark thoughts,” she informs Desi at one point in She Will. They’re more than just dark thoughts. Veronica has developed an ability to enact revenge upon sexist men in her dreams. One of her victims is filmmaker Eric Hathbourne (Malcolm McDowell), with whom she shares a morbid past. The plot culminates in a somewhat sensational 20-minute climax, wherein Veronica sheds her layers – quite literally – while embracing her powers.

She Will boasts spectacular visuals, courtesy of cinematographer Jamie Ramsay, and cunning use of special effects. Stark contrasts and symmetry go hand-in-hand with soft-focused, hauntingly beautiful, painterly shot compositions. Moonlit fog hangs low in the woods; what looks like molecule close-ups morph into interstellar interludes. It’s all deeply psychedelic – Veronica’s visions, Desi’s mushroom trip – benefitting greatly from Clint Mansell’s otherworldly score, which combines synthwave motifs, choir echoes, and sonorous orchestral apexes. The acting’s uniformly excellent as well.

Colbert and co-writer Kitty Percy get their point across in what essentially amounts to a feminist parable. Veronica sets a smarmy, sexist man on fire when he attempts to defend patriarchy. Eric Hathbourne blames his horrid sexual transgressions on “different times.” The women’s visions are highly evocative, the central duo embracing their feminine power and resilience. Not all of it coheres – the actual retreat could have used some fleshing out – but this isn’t a plot to dissect. Just roll with the vibes.

The ideas expressed throughout She Will may not be all novel, but the approach certainly is, and Colbert should be applauded for sticking to her vision. She demonstrates a real knack for sustaining a foreboding atmosphere, directing actors, setting up shots, building tension, and writing memorable dialogue (“Do you notice how the wind here sounds like whispers?” Veronica inquires). Based on the evidence on display, those wondering whether Colbert will soon become the Next Great Auteur may rest assured in the knowledge that she will.

She Will (2022)

Directed: Charlotte Colbert

Written: Kitty Percy, Charlotte Colbert

Starring: Alice Krige, Kota Eberhardt, Malcolm McDowell, Rupert Everett, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

She Will Image

"…Colbert will soon become the Next Great Auteur..."

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