It’s been ages since we’ve had a good ghost story or a lurid return to the terrifying subject of witchcraft. Interjecting aborted elements of both, a murky, pretentious bore called She Will is neither. But it has its moments.
SHE WILL ★
A train speeds through the night, carrying a corpse-like women pale as rice. She’s accompanied by a creepy nurse who forces her to take a pill, suffering agonizing repercussions. When she recovers and arrives at her destination, a remote mansion in the frozen mountains of Scotland, a strange group of unwelcome visitors await them. A discarded newspaper identifies the woman as Veronica Ghent, the faded star of a 1969 horror film titled Navajo Frontier. Veronica, played by the reliable Alice Krige, is a patient recovering from a double mastectomy who needs a place that promises the kind of total quiet and rest only a cemetery can provide. She’s come to the right place. As she and her nurse companion, a faded zombie called Desi (Kota Eberhardt), travel through the woods to an even creepier cabin where blood drips from the faucets with the bath
Into the midst of all this weirdness comes none other than Malcolm McDowell, unrecognizable in white beard and wrinkles, and looking like Santa Claus. Instead of Basil Rathbone, he plays Eric Hathbourne (who could make up these names?), an eccentric director planning a remake of Navajo Frontier, the film Veronica made when she was 13. Much is made of the inference that something awful happened during the shoot that turned the direction of her life into a downward spiral, although, like just about everything in She Will, it is never clear what that “something awful” was. Anyway, Veronica goes bat-shit off her noodle and the movie collapses as she plots revenge by applying the rituals of the “Me Too” movement to the gruesome profanities of ancient sorcery. The best thing you can say about writer-director Charlotte Colbert (no relation to Claudette) is she does remarkable things with mud.
Observer Reviews are regular assessments of new and noteworthy cinema.