Évolution is definitely a very different kind of horror movie, but on the other hand, it has an insane intensity!
Very early on in Évolution you’ll begin to sense the inspiration from The Island of Doctor Moreau. And that’s not exactly a bad way to start. The story takes place on an island, where only adult woman and male children reside. An additional important fact, would be that all the boys are nearing puberty. Of course, if you want the population of this island to grow, you’ll have to start breeding somehow. But don’t worry, this isn’t some new, sick twist following in the foot steps of A Serbian Film (yes, I’ve seen it and honestly wish I hadn’t).
Évolution is almost the opposite of the aforementioned film, as it’s both visually stunning with beauty and life, but – of course – there’s also a lot of darkness (and weirdness) on this very barren island. You could also describe the dialogue in this movie as “barren”. You really won’t hear much dialogue, which is probably a good thing since it’s not in English – sad but true, it really does matter. However, even if you won’t hear much being said, there’s a constant communication in other ways. Also, you’ll see that a lot can be understood from reading between the lines and by simply observing.
Overall, the adult women seem very cold and distant, but even that changes in several subtle ways as the story evolves. The young boys on the other hand are almost stereotypical boys; Always challenging each other, which results in fights always being just one word or wrong look away. Still, friendships also exist and are deep and honest, so it’s a constant balance between no emotions and almost having too many feelings.
Due to the very nature of this story, you won’t meet many characters, but the ones we do meet are portrayed very well indeed. Especially Max Brebant, who plays the lead as Nicolas, is absolutely amazing. He is incredibly intense, while also managing to be laid back in between. Basically, he just has the wonderful curiosity of a child and doesn’t yet understand the consequences of exploring the things, he has been told to stay away from. This is Max Brebant debut as an actor, but hopefully we’ll get to see more of him again soon.
Also, I have to mention both Roxane Duran (The White Ribbon) and Julie-Marie Parmentier (Farewell, My Queen), who play the roles of a young nurse and Nicolas’ mother respectively. They are both a huge reason this movie works. Évolution was written and directed by Lucile Hadzihalilovic, who’s been nominated for quite a few awards for this movie – and won at Sundance Film Festival just as she did with her previous feature film Innocence from 2004. For the record, the script for this one was co-written with Alante Kavaite and Geoff Cox.
This is a fantastic movie visually, and we have cinematographer Manuel Dacosse to thank for that. Of course, Dacosse also has previous experience from the horror genre via short films featured in The ABC’s of Death analogy. And trust me, the horror in Évolution is certainly palpable every moment of this film. So if you’re curious to try something very unlike mainstream horror movies – and you’re ready to let yourself just experience the horror instead of having it served readily – then you should give Évolution a shot.
Évolution is currently playing at various film festivals – and in limited release – around the world. It’s also part of Popcorn Frights Film Festival in Miami 2016 in August.
Director: Lucile Hadzihalilovic
Writer: Lucile Hadzihalilovic, Alante Kavaite, Geoff Cox
Cast: Max Brebant, Roxane Duran, Julie-Marie Parmentier
The only residents of young Nicholas’s seaside town are women and boys. When he sees a dead body in the ocean one day, he begins to question his existence and surroundings. Why must he, and all the other boys, be hospitalised?