Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon MOVIES: LFF 2023 - Evil Does Not Exist - Review

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

MOVIES: LFF 2023 - Evil Does Not Exist - Review

Share on Reddit

Never before has there been a more effective anti-glamping ad than Evil Does Not Exist , the latest by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, on the back of his excellent two header of Drive My Car and Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy. It’s almost a short film for him – clocking in at 106 minutes long, versus the epic length films of Happy Hour and so on – even Drive My Car was three hours. Yet toned down in its restraint he gives us a slice of life story that strips back the pages to reveal something darker and full of intrigue.

The small village of Mizubiki village hosts a community meeting for two company representatives who plan to build glamping in their village; but it’s quickly apparent that they’re so far out of their depths and know nothing of the land. Questioning orders from their superiors they are quickly swept under Takumi’s wing, the local odd-jobs-man, who looks after his daughter nearby. Takumi teaches them the tricks and trade of surviving in the wilderness, in a warm and funny tone – but it becomes clear that it cannot last. There will be a change for the project when it switches gears and becomes something else entirely; and it will threaten to put Takumi and his daughter, Hana, at great risk.

What a bold follow up; Evil Does Not Exist – certainly very slice of life-y at times but there’s a sinister underbelly underneath that becomes more apparent the more you strip back the surface of it. The sudden tonal switch almost pushes the film into David Fincher territory in the third act with the sudden raising of the stakes, but stripped down, there were always hints that Evil Does Not Exist were heading that way, quiet – subtle moments. And it executes the escalation perfectly: one swift turn – nothing like warning sirens and the cold chill of the winter air to raise the tension, nothing like looming speeches about cornered deer – this is Hamaguchi showing his range as a director: a world removed from his previous films yet able to balance the slice of life narrative well, the film’s biggest strength is that you buy the village it’s set in, its community, its characters and its landscape as real and that shows so much. Everywhere across the board Evil Does Not Exist creates a real world; and spends time with it – it’s not rushed, deliberately paced: there’s a wood-chopping scene that’s so therapeutic you too will want to go and retire in the woods and start cutting down trees.

Hamaguchi has that way of making everything believable. Evil Does Not Exist uses a few narrative tricks to create sympathy but it’s something that you can’t help but admire – and it creates a village responding to outsiders in a different way from the excellent The Beasts, by Rordrigo Sorogoyen – and you see a sense of togetherness, a sense of understanding – the man who lives in Tokyo yet never once comes down to the village is the enemy, faceless and on a screen. Yet at the end of the day – there are lines that cannot be crossed, and they will be crossed – and Evil Does Not Exist balances that perfectly.

Sign Up for the SpoilerTV Newsletter where we talk all things TV!


SpoilerTV Available Ad-Free!

Support SpoilerTV is now available ad-free to for all subscribers. Thank you for considering becoming a SpoilerTV premmium member!
Latest News