Lord Of Tears (2013)
Lord Of Tears is the debut film from Scottish director Lawrie Brewster, better known for his previous work as cinematographer and visual effects artist on the two critically acclaimed Morgan M. Morgansen short films starring and directed by Joseph Gordan-Levitt. The film was written by Sarah Daly who previously collaborated on most of Lawrie Brewster's other work. It stars David Schofield (From Hell, Burke & Hare,Devil's Bridge), Alexandra Hulme (Raptor Ranch,Morgan M. Morgansen's Date With Destiny,Kids Vs Monsters), Jamie Scott Gordon (Blooded,Making Ugly,Bonejangles) and newcomer Euan Douglas.
Lord Of Tears tells the story of James Findlay (Douglas), a school teacher who is haunted by visions of a mysterious Owlman creature. His estranged mother dies and leaves him everything in her will including the old family home Baldurrock House, a creepy old mansion in the Scottish Highlands. She also leaves him a letter telling him that he must never return there as the house almost drove him crazy as a child almost drowning himself and that was the reason he was sent away. After some sleepless nights of haunted memories curiosity gets the better of him and he travels back to his old childhood home. Upon arrival he meets Evie (Hulme), a hot young American girl who he assumes is the house keeper or caretaker of the grounds. Evie is eccentric and flirty and the two immediately get on like a house on fire. James then goes investigating throughout the house and its' surrounding grounds and piece by piece he discovers more about the house, his forgotten past, his parents' dark secrets and the Owlman lurking in the shadows....
Even though it's set in Scotland from the beginning Lord Of Tears has an old English Gothic horror feel to it similar to Hammer or the BBC Horror Specials of the 70s and 80s.
Although I grew up on that stuff these days I prefer my horror films with more sleaze and gore and I'm not the biggest fan of ghost stories but I do like the occasional one. After so many failed attempts by Hollywood in recent times (coincidentally the most recent being Hammer's The Quiet Ones) at trying to make a genuinely creepy ghost story without loading it with jump scares that are usually all piled into the trailer anyway, it's great to see an indie director with a small budget get it right.
The location of Ardgour in Scotland was perfectly chosen, the house and surrounding countryside is just creepy as hell. The film is a slow burner to say the least especially at the start but as soon as James gets out of that taxi and approaches Baldurrock house you get a sense of foreboding that can't be shaken. What starts out as a slow paced romantic ghost story with elements of Lovecraftian folk horror suddenly takes a terrifying turn, looking like J-horror mixed with German expressionism making great use of the black and white tones and bringing shadows to life.
Euan Douglas puts in a solid performance especially since its only his second time in front of the camera other than a short film he previously starred in, the childlike innocence of his character really makes you feel his sorrow and his fear. since the costume did most of the work for him David Scofield didn't have to do much other than provide the voice of The Owlman but he did that wonderfully - that deep demonic Victorian tone, like Pinhead with just a little less brimstone. Alexandra Hulme's performance and beauty was almost too captivating at times, taken your eye off the ball and making you forget that you're watching a creepy horror film. She's a great actress and has a stunning classic beauty about her, kinda like Dita Von Teese but with her clothes on. Director Lawrie Brewster really hit the nail on the head with this one and its great to see horror coming from somewhere like Scotland, not a country that is usually associated with the genre but with a Celtic Gothic heritage similar to ours here in Ireland I hope to see more scares from our tartan wearing neighbors.
The marketing campaign for the film which started months before it's release gathered a lot of attention, probably one of the most clever marketing tricks since the Blair Witch. To get the name of the Owlman out there and into the public eye they put him on Chat Roulette and Omegle to scare the crap out of people giving him almost urban legend status similar to that of the Slenderman. Very clever indeed. You can check out those videos below and if you're in the mood for oldschool gothic chills go and check out Lord Of Tears, or else the Owlman might come for you....
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