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The New Movies You Can Watch at Australian Cinemas From September 22

Head to the flicks to see an entrancing horror film about a shapeshifting witch.
By Sarah Ward
September 22, 2022
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By Sarah Ward
September 22, 2022
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Something delightful has been happening in cinemas in some parts of the country. After numerous periods spent empty during the pandemic, with projectors silent, theatres bare and the smell of popcorn fading, picture palaces in many Australian regions are back in business — including both big chains and smaller independent sites in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

During COVID-19 lockdowns, no one was short on things to watch, of course. In fact, you probably feel like you've streamed every movie ever made, including new releasesStudio Ghibli's animated fare and Nicolas Cage-starring flicks. But, even if you've spent all your time of late glued to your small screen, we're betting you just can't wait to sit in a darkened room and soak up the splendour of the bigger version. Thankfully, plenty of new films are hitting cinemas so that you can do just that — and we've rounded up, watched and reviewed everything on offer this week.

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YOU WON'T BE ALONE

What's more terrifying: knowing that death is inevitable, because our fragile flesh will fail us all eventually and inescapably, or accepting that little we ever sense can truly be trusted given that everything in life changes and evolves? In horror movies, both notions stalk through the genre like whichever slasher/killer/malevolent force any filmmaker feels like conjuring up in any particular flick — and in You Won't Be Alone, the two ideas shudder through one helluva feature debut by Macedonian Australian writer/director Goran Stolevski. An expiration date isn't just a certainty within this film's frames. It's part of a non-stop cycle that sees transformation as just as much of a constant. You Won't Be Alone is a poetically shot, persistently potent picture about witches but, as the best unsettling movies are, it's also about so much that thrums through the existence we all know. Viewers mightn't be living two centuries back and dancing with a sorceress, but they should still feel the film's truths in their bones.

First, however, a comparison. Sometimes a resemblance is so obvious that it simply has to be uttered and acknowledged, and that's the case here. Stolevski's film, the first of two by him in 2022 — MIFF's opening-night pick Of an Age is the other — boasts lyrical visuals, especially of nature, that instantly bring the famously rhapsodic aesthetics favoured by Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life, A Hidden Life) to mind. Its musings on the nature of life, and human nature as well, easily do the same. Set long ago, lingering in villages wracked by superstition and exploring a myth about a witch, You Won't Be Alone conjures up thoughts of Robert Eggers' The Witch, too. Indeed, if Malick had directed that recent favourite, the end product might've come close to this entrancing effort. Consider Stolevski's feature the result of dreams conjured up with those two touchstones in his head, though, rather than an imitator.

The place: Macedonia. The time: the 19th century. The focus: a baby chosen by the Wolf-Eateress (Anamaria Marinca, The Old Guard) to be her offsider. Actually, that's not the real beginning of anyone's tale here in the broader scheme of things — and this is a movie that understands that all of life feeds into an ongoing bigger picture, as it always has and always will — but the infant's plight is as good an entry point as any. The child's distraught mother Yoana (Kamka Tocinovski, Angels Fallen) pleads for any other result than losing her newborn. You Won't Be Alone's feared figure has the ability to select one protege, then to bestow them with her otherworldly skills, and she's determined to secure her pick. That said, she does agree to a bargain. She'll let the little one reach the age of 16 first, but Old Maid Maria, as the Wolf-Eateress is also known, won't forget to claim her prize when the years pass.

Nevena (Sara Klimoska, Black Sun) lives out that formative period in a cave, in her mum's attempt to stave off her fate — and with all that resides beyond her hiding spot's walls glimpsed only through a hole up high. Then the Wolf-Eateress comes calling, as she promised she would. From there, Nevena's initiation into the world — of humans, and of her physically and emotionally scarred mentor — is unsurprisingly jarring. Her transition from the care and protection of her "whisper-mama" to the kill-to-survive ruthlessness of her new "witch-mama" disappoints the latter, soon leaving the girl on her own. Still, the need to hunt, devour and mutate has already taken hold, even if Nevena is left fending for herself as she shapeshifts between animals and other humans. With Noomi Rapace (Lamb), Alice Englert (The Power of the Dog) and Carloto Cotta (The Tsugua Diaries) also among the cast, You Won't Be Alone turns Nevena's curiosity-driven experiences of life, love, loss, identity, desire, pain, envy and power into an unforgettable, mesmerising and thoughtful gothic horror fable — charting switches and the stories that come with them with each metamorphosis.

Read our full review.

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If you're wondering what else is currently screening in Australian cinemas — or has been lately — check out our rundown of new films released in Australia on June 2, June 9June 16, June 23 and June 30; and July 7, July 14, July 21 and July 28; August 4, August 11, August 18 and August 25; and September 1, September 8 and September 15.

You can also read our full reviews of a heap of recent movies, such as Mothering Sunday, Jurassic World Dominion, A Hero, Benediction, Lightyear, Men, Elvis, Lost Illusions, Nude Tuesday, Ali & Ava, Thor: Love and Thunder, Compartment No. 6, Sundown, The Gray Man, The Phantom of the Open, The Black Phone, Where the Crawdads Sing, Official Competition, The Forgiven, Full Time, Murder Party, Bullet Train, Nope, The Princess, 6 Festivals, Good Luck to You, Leo Grande, Crimes of the Future, Bosch & Rockit, Fire of Love, Beast, Blaze, Hit the Road, Three Thousand Years of Longing, Orphan: First Kill, The Quiet Girl, Flux Gourmet, Bodies Bodies Bodies, Moonage Daydream, Ticket to Paradise and Clean.

Published on September 22, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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