Shudder Originals varies from straightforward horror films like slasher films to ghost stories. Then there are the psychological horror films that have a specific bent to them that their filmmakers are trying to get across to the viewer. She Will is one of these kinds of films. It’s not for the faint of heart but it is also hard to follow along with. It’s not the most accessible film you’ll see all year.
Alice Krige (Veronica Ghent, Star Trek: First Contact) is an aging film star. She has just gone through a double mastectomy. She and her nurse Desi (Kota Eberhardt) retreat to the highlands of Scotland to recover from the surgery. While she’s there she starts to experience some interesting side effects from the water she baths in. This gives her the rejuvenation she needed to go forward with her life.
Charlotte Colbert the director along with her co-writer on the film Kitty Percy create a story of this woman who has been wronged by this man Hathboure (Malcolm MacDowell, Star Trek Generations) This has been haunting her entire life since. The situation she finds herself in now regarding the retreat she’s at and the water she bathes in has helped her understand what she must do going forward.
While showing her state the filmmaker decided to use flashbacks and graphic scenes of blood and insects and what has changed the main character’s demeanor. The various other characters at the retreat don’t do anything to help her in any way. They are just people who are there and they add to the story slightly. The retreat tries to help her to find herself by doing art and so forth but she has other things in mind for her own welfare.
Besides the strange circumstances that are going on involving Krige’s character, the director shows a beautiful side to Scotland. The cinematography is quite beautiful. There are plenty of shots of foggy lakes and green hills along with lush green dark brown forests. Along with all the crazy visuals of crawling mud and flashbacks. The look overall of the film is good but it’s just hard to get around all the symbolism she’s going for in the story.
The cast is fine with Krige and Eberhardt being the standouts. McDowell is hardly in the movie but Rupert Everett and Amy Manson play supporting characters involved with the retreat. They are just a bit of comedy relief in a film that is rather serious. They just seem out of place in this film about self-healing and discovery. Sometimes the director gets lost in the material while she’s getting these performances from the actors. It’s like she’s telling multiple stories within one movie that doesn’t make sense.
She Will is a film that is trying to show a story of a woman who wants to heal and goes to this retreat for that. In the process, she finds her own self-discovery in a different way. The style in which Colbert goes about telling this story gets lost in its translation regarding what is being shown on screen. The performances by Krige and Eberhardt are fine. Nothing to write home about. The cinematography is very beautiful. The film as a whole is a little odd even for people who like odd cinema.
2 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen