Wednesday, November 27, 2013

BITS 2013 Film Review - Evangeline

Evangeline (Kat de Lieva) arrives for her first year of University in the back of a car filled with religious symbols. She enters her dorm room and is directed to her bed by roommate Shannon (Mayumi Yoshida). Her roommates friend Mark (Anthony Shim) is present and pair immediately proceed to break a porcelain angel bowl the only item that Evangeline seems to hold dear. It's also the night of the party put on by the best frat on campus. Despite first being tentative Evangeline jumps right into the festivities being noticed by Mark Konner (Richard Harmon) the head of the frat.

The next morning as most of the campus heads off for a holiday weekend Eva stays mainly because she is still feeling the effects of the night before.  Mark Konner is also on campus and takes her out to his fathers hunting cabin in the woods. However, his intentions towards her are not honourable. He is joined by his two lieutenants who take part in the violent attack. Paralleling the events on campus a middle age teacher know as Mr. K.(David Lewis) roams the quite roads around the woods. He is fastidious, particular and has a pension for picking up young women walking alone at night along the side of the road.

Writer/Director Karen Lam's narrative fails to build tension and comes across rushed. The main character is introduced as timid quiet and reserved then moment later burst out of the bathroom dressed as a punk princess eager to be the life of the party without any context. There is a bit of back story on a younger sister that dying of a terminal disease and reference to a preacher father but these relationships are not well developed.

The highlight of the films are the scenes and imagery in the cube that represents the space between this world and the next. Here we find the spirit of the women killed by the murderous Mr. K. It's also where Eva dwells following the attack by the frat boys. This is also the space where the demonic spirit merges with the protagonist starting her down the path of revenge. The mixing of sharp jarring sounds when Evangeline occupies the cube is jolting and ominous.

The film does feature a pulsating soundtrack to back the action on the screen. The brooding theme that follows Mr K. as he goes about his business in the woods. The understated guitar riff accompanying the initial flashback to Evangeline's sister. The mixing of sounds and tones as the demon first enters Eva's body followed by the long notes on the organ when she strikes for the first time.

The best acted portion of the film occurs after Eva is found by some drifters in the woods. Her personality has changed as she is shellshocked and mute. Kevin Redvers is notable as Billy the PSTD suffering ex solider. Nelson Leis adds to the proceedings as the attempted stalker Uncle Dee.

Evangeline is a revenge film that doesn't take the time to build characters which is necessary for the audience to have a vested interest in their fates. The result is not a strong like or dislike of the players it's instead indifference which is far worse. There are some good elements in the film but not enough to hold the whole project together. Overall it's not a film that I can recommend.

** out of 4.

Evangeline | Karen Lam | 2013 | Canada | 85 Minutes.

Tags: Religion | Spirits | Serial Killer | Torture | Revenge | Redemption | Campus Live.

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