Evolution, the latest film off the festival circuit, is a sci-fi story that attempts to incorporate the mystery and haunt of the horror genre. The movie is about a young boy named Nicholas, who lives in a seaside town that is home to only women and boys. One day, while walking near the ocean surrounding the town, Nicholas sees a dead body. This triggers him to begin questioning his existence and the environment he has grown up in. He also wonders why he and all of the other boys in the town are forced into hospitalization.
The film was shot by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, a French director who was the first woman to win the Stockholm International Film Festival “Bronze Horse” award for her 2004 full-length feature, Innocence.
Evolution was first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the Vanguard section. Subsequently, it was subjected to a slew of mixed reviews. Some of which praised Lucile’s poetic flair, while others were confused by the “artistic” elements she choose to incorporate/force into the film.
TIFF Reviewer Ethan Vestby claimed that the movie starts off with some very impactful imagery. However, it slowly descends downhill. Ethan states that Evolution is a, “silly horror movie at heart,” going on to say that Lucile “[seemed] to confuse ‘ideas’ with “prolonged silences.’”
Thus, it seems like some of Lucile’s messages hidden within her silent imagery either flew over the audiences’ heads or she just wanted to take up screen time and put in content that would be so out-there that it would ideally be hard to criticize. I mean the latter is somewhat of a safe bet, as it’s likely that many of the highly regarded film critics are not looking to stand out as the one person who did not catch on to some deep, poetic indie film message. Therefore, leading them into a movie filled with potentially higher-level thinking messages is somewhat of a good strategy when you are hoping to avoid any harsh critiques.
Nonetheless, with all this in mind, I had to check out the trailer for myself. It opens up with a young boy (presumably Nicholas) swimming in the crystal blue ocean. Shortly after, it jumps quickly from image to image; so it’s hard to get a complete read of what is going on. It looks as though Nicholas is being subjected to some sort of medical procedure or treatment in a creepy looking facility.
The last segment of the trailer is just a bunch of clips including a circle of women looking as if they are in a cult, a starfish getting brutally stabbed, and some sort of weird mutant birthing scene. It is safe to say I have no clue what this movie is about and ultimately, don’t have any real inclination to find out. Admittedly, the trailer does show off some visually pleasing shots of the ocean.
Reportedly, the film is supposed to abstractly portray the “fear of the unknown.” Thus, I have to hand it to them because after watching the trailer they have definitely succeeded with the “unknown” part of their objective. While I can appreciate the film’s ability to step outside of the box and incorporate an artistic spin to a seemingly dark story, it seems to me the movie needs to reel itself in a bit. You are welcome to stay outside of the box, but you should probably still stay on the same planet.