Evolution (2016; Dir.: Lucile Hadzihalilovic)
By Daniel Barnes
*Opens today at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.
An unusual, fairly original entry into the horror genre, blending together Lost-style intrigue, Cronenberg-ian body horror and European neo-miserable disaffection. Unfortunately, despite a truly disturbing core and some nightmarish moments, I often felt disconnected from and unmoved by French director Hadzihalilovic’s icy approach and occasionally indifferent style. Even though the first significant plot reveal comes less than fifteen minutes into the film, Evolution is fairly impossible to write about without digging into spoilers, if only because the entire story could be described from start to finish in a couple of well-worded sentences. I’ll ladle out this much soup: it’s set on a remote island run by fish-faced women who dote on their sons with a little too much intensity. And I’ve said too much already! Bizarre and singular enough to maintain your interest, with some potent images and icky ideas, but the film’s long, terse tease proves equally enticing and frustrating.