It’s just been the most wonderful time of the year – Christmas! Everyone, young and old, is happy to take a well-earned break from school or work and look forward to opening presents on Christmas night. Right? Well, apparently not everybody – Simon, a rich-kid 8-year old, couldn’t care less about yet another ton of presents from his parents, who are always fighting each other. Apparently, money doesn’t bring happiness, and Simon would rather be left alone. Or better yet, he would like to accompany Santa Claus to his workshop, in order to initiate an elaborate plan that would likely terrify most other 8-year-olds on the planet. While Simon appears to be spoiled, what he experiences in day-to-day existence actually more closely resembles a torment, and he sees his encounter with Santa as the one window of opportunity to escape this maddening status quo. Not your average Christmas film, that’s for sure.
Clocking in at just under 20 minutes of runtime, 'The Eve' would most likely fit under a psychological horror label. It mixes elements such as hallucinations and dreams with a very unique, and constantly disturbing cinematographic style, that makes the entire experience rather tense and uneasy. The film intelligently plays with colours as well – in fact, the very first hint is that a number of key scenes adhere to Max Lüscher’s theory of colours, which posits that colour selection is unconsciously guided and reveal the actual rather than the perceived self of someone. On a second viewing, studying the chromatics of scenes becomes an intriguing and deeply satisfying experience, as it builds a lot of context for many key moments. For instance, before and during Simon’s meeting with Santa, we can observe a yellowish filter, and yellow describes feeling such as hopefulness or expectancy – will he be able to actually persuade Santa with his plan? The attention to detail is crucial for a proper understanding of the film.
'The Eve' is a very experimental and unorthodox project both in terms of style and story – it delivers one shock after another and never leaves a moment of break in-between its key scenes. Its disturbing visuals of otherwise mundane decors, coupled with a very well-chosen score that adds to the sense of melancholy and creepiness that the film oozes, makes this project stand out in a sea of uninspired horrors. Expertly directed by Italian filmmaker Luca Machnich, 'The Eve' is not recommended in case you’re tying to relax with a heart-warming Christmas tale, but is highly recommended for any other situation. It’s smart, brilliantly constructed and its disdain for traditional storytelling is delicious – clearly one of the best horror projects we’ve seen in recent times.