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average rating is 3 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Oct 22, 2022

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Oliver Crawford
Written by:
Oliver Crawford
Sean Knopp, Tim Bentinck, Louis Bernard

Taking inspiration from sci-fi action/thrillers ranging from Predator to Blade Runner, there is certainly an adrenaline rush to be found in Evolutionary, director Oliver Crawford’s story about supernatural alien hunters. But there’s little beyond solid action sequences that stand out as memorable in what is an all-around average short film.


In the year 2048, a hostile alien race known as ‘Hunters’ have infiltrated world governments and begun exterminating all humans. An underground resistance has emerged, experimenting with enhancing human evolution to give mankind a chance to fight back. One test subject (Sean Knopp) has survived, and now turns the hunt towards the Hunters as an elite team tries to take him out.


Evolutionary is an all-action short film, and when I say all-action, I mean ALL-action. Beyond an initial prologue and occasional interspersing of scenes of its protagonist’s blissful former life, the film is entirely focused on the battle between the anonymous, hostile hunter team and the elusive human evolutionary Newland – and all the explosions, gunfire and lethal traps this entails. No time is wasted on pointless frivolities like ‘motivation’ or ‘character development’, as the little plot that exists is delivered through an almost comically-gruff narration straight out of a 2005 movie trailer it's a wonder that the dialogue doesn’t start with “In a world…”


The direction of the action sequences is solid and delivers a reliable presentation of the hunt, to the point of complete forgettability. All the classic boxes are ticked as the soldiers are picked off one-by-one, and anyone who has seen a horror-framed science-fiction stalking scene before will feel a sense of Deja-vu. Of course, there is nothing wrong with a good-old-fashioned, meat-and-potatoes action blowout, but the film is so risk-averse that it feels more like a proof-of-concept work, or a director who just wants to mimic favourite moments from superior art, rather than a story in its own right. The film is at its most interesting when it seems to be veering more into outright-cheesy territory such as when the voiceover kicks in at the beginning, or where the plot toys with introducing some elements of twist – yet these never really go anywhere or result in any sense of originality.


The film is well-produced and the design of the sets, as well as visual and special effects are believable and deployed effectively in the film. The near-darkness throughout can make things a little confusing in moments, but the tension it helps introduce as the military teams search throughout the compound does make for visually striking and visceral thrill – as well as raising inherent fear that comes in the dark. The film never struggles to convince audiences of its authenticity and maintains a suspension of disbelief thanks to the impressive work of the production team – despite a relatively lower-budget and sci-fi heavy plot.


Fun, but unremarkable, Evolutionary is good for a bite-sized serving of dystopian sci-fi action but will be forgotten by most viewers as soon as the credits role. The potential of the world, themes and storylines is left unrealised in favour of a macho, moody chase sequence that is played utterly safe – to the film’s technical credit but artistic detriment.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Digital / DVD Release, Short Film
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