For every splatterfest, there is an atmospheric haunt. For every gritty grindhouse horror, there is a visually artistic stream of creepiness. This stream is the palette from which writer and director Lucile Hadžihalilović works. With influences like Peter Weir, Dario Argento, and collaborations with Gaspar Noé, her penchant for stunning visuals and surreal atmospheres are apparent in her storytelling.
Such is the case for EVOLUTION, of which Hadžihalilović serves as both scribe and helmer. Released for mainly European markets in 2015, and the festival circuit since, those in the United States will be introduced to it in limited theaters and VOD on November 25th. The A.V. Club has even brought us a small clip to feast our eyes on, and the tone and theme can be determined quite quickly.
In EVOLUTION, there is a small, isolated island that appears to be only inhabited by women and boys. One of these young boys, Nicholas, begins to question if his world is the only one and starts to wonder why all of the boys need to be hospitalized. In the clip, Nicholas is in this hospital, where he is surrounded by creepy nurses who try to calm him while he’s injected with…something. It is a tense scene with a single voice and droning soundtrack as the procedure is carried out, slowly. For those who are afraid of needles, this should really make you wince.
The A.V. Club’s A.A. Dowd gave the following impression of the film:
“‘Beguiling’ feels like a weird word for something so frequently gross and eerie, but Hadzihalilovic casts a singular dreamlike spell, her thin storyline evoking a cluster of childhood fears, preoccupations, and desires.”
They also mention that the film should appeal to fans of the eerie 2014 thriller UNDER THE SKIN. In that film, the dark and dreary atmosphere made our own world seem more alien than the central character. This sounds like the perfect trait to show a setting that is cut off from the rest of the natural world. But what is really going on there? Why are they isolated from everything? What are the true motivations of the nurses there?
We’ll have to discover the answers to all of the mysteries EVOLUTION holds when it comes to the U.S. on November 25th, 2016.
Jason Stollery has horror films encoded into his DNA, going so far as to name his sons Michael and Fred. He can be found talking all things film on Twitter @smegghed.