Uncanny horror from Lucile Hadžihalilović with shades of HP Lovecraft and David Cronenberg.
Ever since writer-director Lucile Hadžihalilović teased that she was working on an original feature over a decade ago, fans of unsettling Gallic cinema have been waiting with baited breath. The resulting Évolution makes for a fittingly uneasy diptych with her debut, Innocence (2004). Where that earlier film brought the uncertainty of postmodern cinematography and storytelling to a traditional gothic, female-centred tale, Évolution is a queer science fiction body horror in the vein of Lovecraft and Cronenberg.
Nic (Max Brebant), a young boy on the cusp of adolescence, lives a simplistic, littoral life in a mysterious, austere village populated by other uniform mother-son pairings. Haunted by the visceral sight of a dead boy’s decomposing body that Nic discovers while diving, his mother tries to comfort him. “The sea makes you think horrible things,” she says. This consolation is prophetic: as Nic’s mère and la mer blur, a most disturbing vision of conception, birth and child-rearing unfurls.