LORD OF TEARS (2013)
Directed by Lawrie Brewster
Written by Sarah Daly
Lord of Tears is an independent ghostly chiller set in the highlands of Scotland. Unlike the torture porn and shaky found footage horrors seen nowadays, director Lawrie Brewster has taken us back to old skool horror filmmaking, with a film that relies on the art of storytelling shot in a static, steady way. Surprisingly, particular in the horror genre, this style seems to be a rarity these days and its much welcomed by myself as a lover of the format over motion-sickness causing shaky cam.
Written by Metaphorest herself, Sarah Daly, Lord of Tears is a slow-burning tale that will engage you with its friendly frolics and creep you out with its terrifying nightmares, featuring quick edits and extreme closeups depicting murder, insanity and the malignant Owlman.
The cast may only be small, with three main characters (besides Owlman), but their personalities and stories are each given screen time to be explored. Euan Douglas portrays the protagonist James, who’s quite a delicate, shy man who doesn’t appear to have matured mentally due to his troubled childhood. Ever the gentleman but with no lady or love in his life, James appears to be quite naive and innocent compared to his surroundings. Luckily for him, he meets Evie played by Alexandra ‘Lexy’ Hulme, a full-of-life, sexy young woman who injects a bit of fun and warmth into James’ life during his stay at Baldurrock. Evie entertains James with her seductive dances yet she does so in such an elegant way, like a glamourous star of the 50’s. In later scenes, her talent for footwork and body movement is evident as her body reflects different emotions and creates alternative viewer reactions. It does not surprise that actress Alexandra Hulme is also a professional dancer and choreographer, which makes her the perfect choice for the character of Evie in this spooky film. Heading up the final of three main actors is Jamie Scott Gordon, who stars as Allen, James’ friend and co-worker who James shares his problems and experiences with before and after his trip to Baldurrock, but with his own father in hospital, Allen has other things on his mind. This leaves one question remaining… who is the man behind the Owlman? Well, I’m unsure who’s inside the suit but the maleficent voice belongs to that of actor David Schofield, who’s starred in theatre productions as well as many movies including Pirates of the Caribbean 2 and 3, An American Werewolf in London and From Hell, just to name a few. His voice helps to bring a sinister, yet intelligent edge to the frightening avian that haunts James in the film.
Anyone expecting Owlman to be slashing his way through hoardes of victims will be severely disappointed. Instead, Lord of Tears takes a clever route of telling a disturbing ghostly tale, dropping hints throughout until the final reveal, which even then surprises. I’d say if you were a fan of Hammer Horror and films like The Others and The Orphanage – films that tell a good story – then you’ll find lots to enjoy here.
The level of detail in the production of Lord of Tears is admirable, with the sets and location just as important as the characters themselves. Gavin Robertson’s cinematography is stunning, highlighting both the beauty and naturally chilling elements Scotland has to offer. These haunting visuals are displayed over a truly terrifying, gothic score from Andy MacDonald and Craig Sutherland, that adds to the tension and uneasiness, with the viewer expecting the Owlman to strike at any moment.
Creating a mythos of their own whilst blending it with real-life mythology and history, Lawrie Brewster, Sarah Daly and their team have crafted a wonderful classic horror, one that gets under your skin and is not afraid to shock you in the style that The Wicker Man and The Others did so well. Citing H.P. Lovecraft as an inspiration, among others, it is clear the passion and detail which Sarah Daly and Lawrie Brewster have put into the film. Haunting to the core, Lord of Tears is one nightmarish chiller that I can heartily recommend to those who enjoy a good old-fashioned horror.
Whilst I would normally end a review on that note, I have to talk about the packaging for Lord of Tears. Hex Media sent a collectors edition copy of Lord of Tears so that we may review the film in its entirety to show and tell our readers exactly what they’ll get if they buy the film, which is only available physically as a collectors edition – meaning you will always get the full finished product, packed with extras, and not have to debate between a cheaper ‘bare-bones’ copy versus an extras-laden Collector’s Edition.
Okay, so you’re thinking ‘usual big DVD case’ right? Wrong! Whatever you expect of DVD packaging, forget it. Hex Media may have produced an independent movie but their love and passion to give film lovers a product they can treasure forever will blow your mind. Film fans who purchase a physical copy of Lord of Tears will each receive a parcel, inside which is the Collectors Edition, hand-wrapped using the softest black tissue paper by screenwriter and musician Sarah Daly, and sealed with a feather (from the dreaded Owlman?). If you’re like me, you’ll not want to open something that someone has put so much care into but needs must if we are to gaze upon what is inside. Boy oh boy, will you love what you will behold.
Lord of Tears is available now from www.lordoftears.com on Collectors Edition DVD and Blu-Ray.
You can also catch a screening of Lord of Tears at the Bram Stoker International Film Festival in Whitby on 25th October 2013.