TITLE: Lord of Tears
YEAR RELEASE: 2013
DIRECTOR: Lawrie Brewster
CAST: David Schofield, Lexy Hulme, Euan Douglas, Jamie Scott Gordon, Alan Ireby, Neil Cooper, Nancy Joy Page, Graham Robertson, Jock Ferguson
SIMON BALL reviews Lord of Tears, a 2013 Scottish horror based on the Owl Man legend
Lord of Tears is an independently produced and financed Scottish chiller by newbie director Lawrie Brewster, with its feet firmly anchored in the pagan folklore of the Highlands.
James Findley (Euan Douglas) is a guy with a problem. Not just any old problem mind, no James is haunted by a weird recurring dream featuring a creature with the body of a man, long bloody claws and an owl’s head. James thinks his nightmares are some kind of repressed childhood memory associated with the childhood breakdown he suffered at the Baldurrock Estate, his family’s massive country pad in the Scottish Highlands. So naturally when his estranged ma dies, rather than sell up and live off the proceeds James is off to Baldurrock to confront his demons.
At Baldurrock James meets Evie (Alexandra Hulme). On the face of it Evie is a cute American with a penchant for vintage outfits, but as their relationship develops the owly nightmares not only get worse, but start to break through in James’s waking life as James, driven to the very brink of madness, unearths the reasons for his breakdown. Yes, Baldurrock does indeed harbour an ancient dark secret and Evie is inextricably bound up in it.
Lord of Tears is an old school atmospheric shocker, much in the mould of Jack Clayton’s The Innocents. Tension mounts in the first half of the movie, brief glimpses of the Owlman and other elements of James’s nightmare visions gradually ramp up the action as the film races to its harrowing conclusion.
Drawing upon Gaelic tradition, Middle Eastern mythology and weird literature, director Lawrie Brewster and writer Sarah Daly created a truly terrifying monster in the Owlman and he is made all the more scary by the judiciously edited small reveals he inhabits. The camera work and lighting design is nothing short of stunning, one moment capturing the ethereal beauty of the Scottish countryside, the next descending into the dank claustrophobia of Baldurrock’s interior. Brewster’s aim was to recreate the visual feel of a British chiller from the late 50s/early 60s, but with an injection of shock derived from more recent Japanese horrors and you know what he really has pulled it off.
Lord of Tears is available on DVD and Blu ray from Hex Media
SIMON BALL is a freelance writer and Editor at Large with the Horror Hothouse website, You can follow him on Twitter @RealShipscook