SUNDANCE 2022 | “Resurrection” and “You Won’t Be Alone”

Writer/director Andrew Semans’ “Resurrection” is an unnerving thriller starring Rebecca Hall as Margaret, a single mother and businesswoman whose daughter Abbie (Grace Kaufman) will soon leave for college. Enter David (Tim Roth, in one of his best roles in years), a man from Margaret’s past. He is a soft-spoken and aging man but is revealed to be a dark reminder from Margaret’s past, very much a monster who left physical and emotional scars on her eighteen-year-old self.

Semans has crafted a psychological horror film that is one of the better examinations of trauma I’ve seen in a while.

It is the rare modern horror film that is about something more than scares. Semans’s screenplay brings focus to the lifetime effects of physical and mental abuse on one’s psyche.

Rebecca Hall’s gripping turn as a woman who has not truly moved beyond the abuse she suffered at the hands of David is Oscar-worthy. Her traumatic experience with him has colored her life, causing her to move to another coast and change her name. The abuse also shaped the overprotectiveness towards her daughter and is the reason she is not dealing well with losing her offspring to the big bad world.

While there are certain factions in the screenplay that fail to live up to the strong drama within (and an ambiguous ending that will likely polarize viewers), “Resurrection” is a solemn and taut film that serves as horror, as thriller, and as a potent character piece.


Noomi Rapace in “You Won’t be Alone” (directed by Goran Stolevski)

Goran Stolevski’s feature film debut, “You Won’t Be Alone” is a strikingly philosophical work that studies what it means to be human, through the life journey of a witch.

In 19th century Macedonia, a witch commands a mother of a baby daughter to give a blood offering. The woman begs to be allowed to stay with her daughter until she becomes a teenager. The witch agrees and the mother tries to hide the child in a cave. The child grows with no knowledge of the world or the people in it… until the witch finally comes for her.

My description of the film stops there, as nothing that follows can be predicted. This is a film of ideas and of deeper examinations of what makes us human.

Comparisons to the filmmaking style of Terrence Malick are inevitable (and well deserved!), as cinematographer Matthew Chuang embraces the nature and culture of the landscapes, and the soundtrack is filled with the ambient whispers of the main character’s internal dialogue.

Stolevski’s vision is unique and deeper than one would expect from a genre film. This work could rightfully be dubbed Art-Horror, as its beauty in the silence is as strong as the terror in the dark.

Intense, philosophical, horrifying, luminous, and erotic, “You Won’t Be Alone” is one of the treasures of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival.

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