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IFC Films has released the trailer for its upcoming Charles Manson drama Charlie Says.
A tale of the Manson family from the perspective of those who followed the infamous and deadly cult leader, the dark drama poses the question: Can someone be both a victim and a murderer?
The trailer opens on the three women known as the “Manson girls” and a fourth Manson family member, Chace Crawford’s Tex Watson, as they sit pensively around a sun-shadowed table, questioning their existence as “scary creatures who committed horrible crimes.”
Shots of the highly guarded penitentiary and solitary cell block that now holds them follows, as does the introduction of Karlene Faith (Merritt Wever), the woman tasked with helping the girls remember who they were before they met one of America’s most notorious serial killers.
Right on cue, wide-eyed Leslie Van Houten, played by Game of Thrones star Hannah Murray, enters the Manson quasi-commune. Like a snake charmer, Matt Smith’s gruff and dark-haired guitar-playing Manson immediately ensnares the young woman, who soon becomes intoxicated by the group’s free-wheeling and sexually alluring atmosphere.
Manson promises a place all about love with no secrets and no shame right before whispering into Houten’s ear, “Would you die for me?”
The answer comes in the form of a Manson-led “adventure” in which Houten and the other girls, Mary Brunner (Suki Waterhouse) and the enduringly devout Patricia Krenwinkel (Sosie Bacon), blur the line between life and death in an effort to prove their love to him.
As the days and moments leading up to the horrific murder of actress Sharon Tate and four others quickly flash by, Faith — and the sequence of scenes that follow — pushes back against the notion that the women couldn’t be victims of Manson’s dark and twisted violence too.
“We did what we had to do,” Krenwinkel says with a half-hearted whisper right at the trailer’s end.
Directed by Mary Harron (American Psycho) and written by Guinevere Turner, the film hits theaters May 10.
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