Inspired by real unsolved murders in her home province of British Columbia, Karen Lam in her film Evangeline, exposes a truly evil part of humanity; A part where young women can be drugged, used, and ditched to rot away from existence physically or mentally. 98% of rapists/abusers will walk free without serving any sentence or paying justice for their crimes. Evangeline fantasizes of a direct vengeance to those crimes, in a demon-possession, kill ’em all way.
Kat De Lieva plays Evangeline, a preacher’s daughter and new student at a Canadian university. As timid and innocent as she seems in the beginning, her new friends convince her to go to a frat party of the year. Flash forward to the frat leader Michael (Richard Harmon), using his Canadian, boyish charm to lure Evangeline into his father’s old hunting cabin, drugging and kidnapping her. She is dumped into the forest to yet again face some dastardly Canadian men with a sole purpose of abusing her. This is where the action starts as she is shown being possessed by an unexplained demon, and is given a thirst for vengeance.
One thing that really worked in this film was the glimpses into the sad and broken down mind of Evangeline. Throughout the film, we get a peek at a metaphorical chained down Evangeline, always in some concrete, desolate room. For the last half of the movie, she barely says a word, and this is the only way her emotions are communicated. At first, it’s a little confusing, but worked well throughout the second half of the movie at displaying the transformation of her poor demented soul. Lieva’s acting was superb in these moments, really expressing the mental anguish and struggles of a victim of abuse.
The film takes on heavy subject matter and works well as a fantasy revenge film, but could be trimmed down a bit to be more effective. At some points, the film lacked continuity and failed to explain some major plot points and character motivations. The makeup of Evangeline post demon possession was inconsistent and would change from a heavy cream based makeup, to powder based, to nothing. There was also no true explanation of where the demon had come from, and seemed a little forced. I would have liked to see some of the characters motives and overall being explained a little more, but wasn’t exactly crucial.
The killings are brutal and well deserved when they finally happen and the way it was shot worked for most of the movie. Shaky shots and weird glimpses kept the film moving and added suspense. Some parts felt like you are watching a weird music video, which wasn’t necessarily good or bad. Evangeline‘s forest setting also worked well and added to the creep factor.
Though some parts didn’t make too much sense, Evangeline delivers to be fucked up and pretty brutal. Overall, this film was a creepy original twist on the revenge film that hold’s its own. I wouldn’t recommend watching this one casually with the family, or anyone that isn’t into the weird stuff that we are, but don’t ignore it.