Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s younger sister, Elizabeth, delivered what just about everyone in attendance at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival considered a true breakout performance in the disturbing tale of Martha Marcy May Marlene.

A pair of short trailers and posters have been released for writer/director Sean Durkin’s feature-length directorial debut, which quietly tease the eerie and unnerving atmosphere of the indie drama/thriller.

Here is the official synopsis for the film:

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE stars Elizabeth Olsen as Martha, a damaged woman haunted by painful memories and increasing paranoia, who struggles to reassimilate with her family after fleeing a cult.

Oscar-nominee John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone), Golden-Globe nominee Sarah Paulson (Serenity), Emmy-nominee Hugh Dancy (Black Hawk Down), and Brady Corbet (Funny Games) round out the cast of the film – which early word of mouth pegs as being one of those pictures where the less you know going in, the better. Perhaps it is appropriate then that Fox Searchlight hid these two new previews for Martha in QR codes, to help keep things secretive.

With that in mind, check out the pair of new Martha Marcy May Marlene trailers (via The Film Stage) below:

Early buzz on Martha is that it bears a stronger resemblance in overall tone to the second of these trailers – a mix of more friendly moments with that still-strong troubling undercurrent that leaves you (uncomfortably) anticipating the scenes where stuff goes horribly wrong. The film has prompted comparisons to the collective work of Oscar-nominee Michael Haneke (Caché, Funny Games, The White Ribbon) with regards to its simple, but fitting, visual design and squirm-inducing taut mood.

In other words – great movie, but not exactly what you would call “light viewing.”

With that in mind, check out the newly-released Martha Marcy May Marlene posters (via EW) in the gallery below:

While Martha was ultimately overshadowed at this year’s Sundance festivities by another, highly-publicized flick that revolves around a dangerous cult (Kevin Smith’s now-infamous Red State), most everyone who has seen both films peg the former as being superior. Olsen is already considered a potential Oscar contender for her memorable turn as the traumatized title character; even if you have little interest in “awards-favored” performances, hers is still one that’s definitely worth a look.

Martha Marcy May Marlene begins a limited theatrical release in the U.S. on October 21st, 2011.

Source: The Film Stage, EW