Sofia Coppolla has spent nearly two decades creating lyrical and intimate cinematic experiences, and her latest, The Beguiled, will see her taking the plunge into gothic horror. The film is an adaption of the novel The Painted Devil by Thomas P. Cullinan and was already made for the screen in 1971 courtesy of Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood.
Set in rural Mississippi during the civil war, the story takes place in an isolated all girls boarding school. Their peace is broken by the arrival of an injured soldier, his innate manliness quickly sending the women into a downward spiral of sexual jealousy and extreme violence.
It’s promising material and Coppolla has assembled an impressive cast to deliver it: Colin Farrell, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst and Nicole Kidman. Based on the recent trailer, it looks like a bit of a tonal departure from the pop-inflected Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring, instead aiming more towards an ominously intense claustrophobia, no doubt punctuated with bursts of bloody violence.
A tiny bit more of what we’re to expect comes in the form of some fresh images released by The Playlist today. These give us a good luck at Dunst, Fanning and Kidman in costume, each of them balefully staring at the lens with doomy intensity. Kidman and Dunst are on a winning streak right now, each following up award-running roles in Lion and Hidden Figures respectively. And frankly, after The Neon Demon, Elle Fanning is making quite the name for herself amidst the current wave of gynocentric psych-horror.
The Beguiled is set to hit theaters on June 23rd, slap bang in the middle of a busy summer of muscled men punching each other through buildings and things loudly going boom. I sincerely hope this promising looking slice of southern gothic doesn’t get lost in the blockbuster melee.