“Evangeline” is one of these new revenge / supernatural fusion horror films that blends classic vengeance gore with a paranormal element. I like this mash-up of concepts. “Evangeline” is directed by Karen Lam and stars Kat de Lieva, Richard Harmon, Mayumi Yoshida, David Lewis, Kelvin Redvers and Dejan Loyola. The story follows a young college student stepping out of her comfort zone to go to a Frat party. This being the horror that it is bad things happen and she is left for dead while her friends seek answers. “Evangeline” is dark cautionary tale that mixes the surreal with experimental in an East meets West concept.
The story isn’t completely original, the themes and subject matter has been explored quite a bit in horror. What “Evangeline” does offer is a deep, atmospheric slice of human tragedy, and a test of Lam’s more philosophical expressionism through visual art forms. I enjoyed that Lam chose to show us what the psyche split during intense physical suffering could look like. And by choosing that moment to have a supernatural development unfold in the character development goes a long way toward Lam’s vision, and gives us our turn around in this nightmarish journey.
The acting and directing is pretty tight. Obviously the budget was nice enough to bring “Evangeline” up to par with some of the recent films of this ilk. The production is quality as well. Unfortunately there is something of substance missing in a lot of the material here. The story is multilayered and for the most part the characters seem developed enough. It is just that I felt they were standard “Copy/paste” characters and there was no real emotionality to the drama or scenes that actually dealt with the crux of this story. Not to the level that the creativity and vision of more surreal scenes without dialog where everything was visual stimulation. Plus things just happen because they need to happen and that was the way they were drawn on the storyboards. No real suspense or intensity.
The special effects rocked. Especially the creature effects on the “demon” or “entity” , (what little we see it). It is what we have come to expect in this genre and I recently saw another film with an almost identical story do it better, but all the FX are on point and look great on screen. The soundtrack and atmosphere is a haunting sway of despair lingering over the story. There will be as many people that like “Evangeline” as “hate it”. The actual combining of the two aspects of the story are open to interpretation, in some moments are confusing. I loved the visual exploration of the victim coping during such a senseless and vicious act of violence. I only hope I have a demon watching over me and waiting for that moment to intercede.