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Lord of Tears – 6

Director – Lawrie Brewster

Cast – David Schofield, Alexandra Hulme, Euan Douglas, Jamie Scott Gordon

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Lord of Tears is an indie horror film that has proved to be a sensation within the genre since its festival release date last October. As of now, the only way to get a hold of this piece is to purchase its amazing (and expensive) DVD from the film’s website, which comes with loads of extras – some you need and some you don’t. Still unavailable to the masses on a rental scale, this remains a highly sought after experience that I was finally able to become a part of. With one of the coolest looking and most unique villains I have seen in a long time, Lord of Tears is worthy of its hype. However, the amazing film I was hoping for never showed.

James Findlay is a simple man, a schoolteacher who as a child was tormented by recurring nightmares of a mysterious and disturbing entity known as the Owlman. Suspecting that these visions are tied to a dark incident he cannot remember, James returns to the home he grew up in to uncover the unsettling truth behind the Owlman, and fight for his life to endure the consequences of his actions.

Written by Sarah Daly, this story begins in the same manner as many others we have seen. James learns of his estranged mother’s passing, and as her lawyer executes her last will and testament James is handed a letter that his mother said must be urgently read. In it, she warns him to not return to their large mansion in the Scottish highlands. His parents removed him from the home, and their lives, for a reason, and it is for his own benefit that he never learns why. Amongst her belongings is a drawing he drew of a tall man with elongated arms and an owl’s head. This triggers strange memories from his childhood, and despite his mother’s warnings it does not take long before the location changes to the old mansion. Upon his arrival he meets an eloquent young woman named Eve Turner, who takes a liking to him that is soon reciprocated. About 29 minutes into the film we get our first glimpse of the owl man, but after that it is a long while before he reappears. James does suffer consistent flashbacks to horrific events that he still finds unexplainable, but the second act deals more with his relationship with Eve than his childhood horror. It was this second act that left me feeling like this film was not as good of a horror film as it could have been. Had more instances of horror occurred then this could possibly have been avoided, but I feel it is pretty obvious that the horror took a definitive back seat to the love story. It isn’t until 49 minutes into the film that we finally get a decent look at the Owlman, and 8 minutes later the story finally starts to kick into gear. We learn of the Owlman’s very interesting origin, and the scenes where he appears are both horrific and actually quite…beautiful. His dialogue is captivating and surreal, but if you are looking for solid Owlman action, such as a final fight between him and James, you won’t be given what you want.

Lawrie Brewster directs this piece, and from the get-go he lets you know that this will be a gothic piece. His atmosphere is incredible and the cinematography from Gavin Robertson provides the gloomy yet highly visceral film hue that makes this a visual treat. The acting performances from all involved are OK, with nobody really stealing the show and delivering a solid effort. If anyone does steal the show though, it’s the Owlman. His look is incredible, and while he is not the first to don an owl mask – a prize awarded to the killer in Michele Soavi’s 1987 giallo Stage Fright – the rest of his body is just as creepy. He looks as if Pumpkinhead put on a suit and an owl mask – something I should have thought of long ago. Brewster’s execution of the horror is fantastic, from the Owlman (who sadly did not get very physical) to the outside elements of horror that I won’t mention for spoilers’ sake. There are some decent chills but no scenes that were extreme. I won’t say that is a bad thing given this is an indie film with a low budget, but it sure is a shame to have such an awesome looking antagonist and him not give you goosebumps the way you want him to.

Overall, Lord of Tears is a film that gets a lot right but loses focus of the horror at times. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but with such an awesome antagonist and superb atmosphere/cinematography, you may find yourself a bit disappointed in the story not taking full advantage the good these filmmakers have to offer.

Rating: 6/10

…Additional Stills…

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