An aging actress journeys to a secluded retreat as she heals from surgery. But what she hoped would be a serene occasion eventually turns into a haunting ascension. The directorial debut for filmmaker Charlotte Colbert, She Will is an alluring folk horror that explores mystical themes with atmospheric visuals.
Past the glory days of her once flourishing acting career, Veronica (Alice Krige) is coming to terms with her age and mortality, even more so after having a profound surgery. With her nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt) by her side, she travels to a private retreat deep in the Scottish Highlands to have a moment of spiritual and physical healing.
Upon arrival, she discovers more guests are part of the experience. Overwhelmed and displeased, she urges Desi to find a way for the two to leave — but severe weather forces them to stay the night.
That night Veronica experiences strange hyperrealistic dreams and begins to feel an odd connection to the land, which was supposedly the site of witch trials. This intangible pull forces her to confront traumas from her fame, as Desi also grapples with the influence the place has on them both.
Written by Colbert alongside Kitty Percy, She Will is an enthralling film that explores some fairly dark themes with a timely revenge angle. It’s a modern witch tale that feels richly connected to the roots of the horror subgenre while delivering a contemporary anecdote.
There’s also a captivating maternal relationship that develops between the two main characters. While the revenge part plays a significant role in the film, I found this to be the more impactful message of the film. As Veronica continues to struggle with a slight air of jealousy towards Desi’s youth, the two build this magnetic bond that feels so meaningful.
The film plays more into the psychological than genuine frights, but it’s certainly a treat for those who love a slow-burn thriller with compelling visuals. Colbert takes an artful approach in her storytelling. Though I found the abundance of interpretive visuals to be a bit distracting at times, the story itself is impactful and feels like a tender feminine horror experience.
She Will is available on demand on July 15 and heads to Shudder in October