Estonian cinema isn’t exactly well-represented at the U.S. box office, but if the trailer for November is any indication, we may have found a new hotbed of weird-as-hell indie horror. Oscilloscope Films is releasing the film in a limited U.S. run—no surprise, given that these guys were behind the equally bizarre The Love Witch in 2016—and it’s an immediately arresting collection of nightmare imagery. Shot in stark but beautiful black and white and set in the 19th century, it reminds us on some level of A24’s The Witch, except with a string of absurdist black comedy. To quote the official synopsis:
In this tale of love and survival in 19th century Estonia, peasant girl Liina longs for village boy Hans, but Hans is inexplicably infatuated by the visiting German baroness that possesses all that he longs for. For Liina, winning Hans’ requited love proves incredibly complicated in this dark, harsh landscape where spirits, werewolves, plagues, and the devil himself converge, where thievery is rampant, and where souls are highly regarded, but come quite cheap. With alluring black and white cinematography, director Rainer Sarnet vividly captures these motley lives as they toil to exist – but is existence worth anything if it lacks a soul?
Personified black death? Literal devils and werewolves? Old witches cackling and inexplicably getting slapped in the face? There is some crazy nightmare fuel afoot here. November was directed by Rainer Sarnet, and was selected as the Estonian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards, although it wasn’t nominated. We can only imagine that quite a few members of The Academy would have taken one look at this thing and run away screaming.
November opens in New York City on Feb. 23 and in Los Angeles on March 2, hopefully with some more U.S. cities to follow. For now, watch that messed-up trailer above.