The Movie Waffler Waffling With... <i>Evangeline</i> writer-director Karen Lam | The Movie Waffler

Waffling With... Evangeline writer-director Karen Lam

With her latest feature film, Evangeline, about to hit VOD and DVD, TMW chatted to writer-director Karen Lam about the movie.

Interview by Benjamin Poole

Evangeline focuses on female relationships, taking time to establish the friendship between Shannon and Eva, and harking back to Eva’s poor little sister. How important were female relationships to the script?

I think establishing relationships is integral to storytelling: we care about characters by seeing how they care about other people. To me, it's impossible to build fear without first building character.

The film looks at different social structures; there is the ‘frat house’ rule of campus, and also Eva’s father who is more concerned with church than his family. What suggestions is the film making about such hierarchies?

The film is a reaction to what I've been seeing in the news and media: a lot of damage stems from the institutions, more than the individuals themselves. The corruption and injustice is a natural by-product of the blind adherence to hierarchy, which is ironic because so many of these institutions are set up to give social structure to our morality: morality ends up excised as the institution gains power.

As someone who lives in Wales, I love a mysterious and magical woodland. Is the mythology in Evangeline based on any existing folklore? If not, what inspired it?

The underlying mythology is based on Asian mythology -- the purgatory world is my interpretation of the mansion of a thousand rooms -- where the souls wait in windowless, doorless rooms in a purgatory state. The demon is inspired by the old gods of the forest: the idea that gods never die, just grow weak because they live on human faith. I studied comparative religion as part of my undergraduate degree, so a lot of my inspiration comes from looking at ideas in world religion and also mythology and folklore.

On a similar tip, what other films inspired Evangeline? Not only in the revenge plot, but the use of the flashback structure and its style?

The film is a product of a lot of my favourite things: Korean serial killer films like I Saw The Devil and The Chaser, samurai comic Lone Wolf and Cub, The Crow, the character Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Neil Gaiman's The Sandman...
I love taking very complex ideas and trying to find a way of showing the story in a stylish yet very spare kind of way.

Ok, over to you. In 50 words or less, why should TMW readers seek out Evangeline?

The film is a dark revenge fantasy that poses some complex questions about morality that I hope people will find entertaining while being thought-provoking. I also hope people find strength in Evangeline's journey.

Evangeline will be available in the US on VOD May 8th, 2015, and on DVD June 9th, 2015.