"626 EVOLUTION" — 3 stars — Danielle Chuchran, Ruby Jones, Demetrius Daniels, Michael Flynn; not rated, but likely PG-13 (for some violence); LDS Film Festival 2017
Director/producer John Lyde, who is known for multiple films including "Christmas Oranges," "Miracle Maker" and the Mythica series, told his audience his new movie was "weird," and he wouldn't be offended if people walked out.
However, "626 Evolution" proved to be engaging and no one left during the screening at the 16th LDS Film Festival 2017 at the SCERA Center for the Arts.
The movie brings two stories together as one teen (Danielle Chuchran) tries to escape abuse and find her real family and another young woman (portrayed by Ruby Jones) tries to figure out who she is and why people are tracking her.
It's a little confusing as the stories converge, but there's a narration that helps sort things out and provides a cryptic humor. One almost feels like the Mystery Science Theater critics are commenting throughout.
This film isn't so much science-fiction as it is a story of loss and discovery. Without giving away the ending, it's safe to say this tale is a modern-day reality check.
It's well shot, and there is a lot of locally familiar territory, including the Utah Valley University campus, American Fork High School, American Fork Junior High and the old Harrington School.
The acting is well done, especially given the fact that neither lead can give away too much. Costuming is interesting considering one dresses on the fly out of a Dumpster and the other has no wardrobe budget.
Clues come slowly, but it's almost believable — almost because the makeup is flawless no matter what the character has just gone through — and the stunt moves are powerful for a girl who can't remember who she is.
And the story is somewhat plausible, given advances and changes in medical technology.
"It's a very different movie," Lyde said as he introduced the film. "It's weird."
"626 Evolution" is not rated, but likely PG-13; running time: 78 minutes.