SHUDDER EXCLUSIVE: She Will (2021)

The first film directed by Charlotte Colbert, who co-wrote the script with Kitty Percy, She Will has Alice Krige as film star Veronica Ghent, who is recovering from a double mastectomy at what she believes is an exclusive retreat with her nurse Desi Hatoum (Kota Eberhardt).

Years ago, when Veronica was just a child, she appeared in the movie that defined her life, Navajo Frontier for director Eric Hathbourne (Malcolm McDowell), who is planning on remaking that film and using another 13-year-old girl despite the innuendo that he had a relationship with Veronica all those years ago. As for any mention of her in the media, every story is about “look how old she is.”

Later the first night, a black mud pours from the bath and into Veronica, showing her memories of being assaulted by the director as well as the witches whose ashes made that substance. Years ago, at a place called Nighean’s Wall, three thousand women were burnt for the crime of being women. Or witches. Or you know, it’s kind of one and the same.

Desi lives her own nightmare, as the owner of the retreat drugs her and assaults her in the woods, but she’s saved by the darkness that is now inside her patient. In sleep, Veronica’s spirit appears to Hathbourne who refuses to be blamed for what happened. After all, he made her a star. He swings a bottle at her as she falls into ash, his lunge taking him off the balcony in what can only appear to the world at large to be a suicide.

She Will isn’t like so many movies out there today, filled with herky jerky ghost scenes, voyages home to be possessed and endings that fall apart. It’s slow in the best ways, methodical and has a definite destination. What a debut for Colbert.

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