Review: 'Lord of Tears'

Congrats to Lord of Tears on being officially selected for the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, the genre film festival based in Belgium! Director Lawrie Brewster and his company Hex Media have been working overtime to cleverly promote this film and they've done a pretty great job of it. Months back, I received a copy of the film in the mail wrapped in black tissue paper and sealed with a bird feather. It was especially creepy/amusing considering I recently watched The Lords of Salem in which someone received a mysterious package of a similar name!

After much procrastination, I finally sat down and watched my copy. Right from the beginning, the film is steeped in atmosphere. The haunting Scottish scenery and fantastic score give it an eerie vibe, while quick cuts unnerve the viewer. The story follows James Findlay (Euan Douglas), a schoolteacher whose mother recently passed away and left the old family home in his possession. Seeking the truth about his mysterious childhood and the entity that haunts his dreams, James heads to the old house. There he meets a beautiful young traveler (Alexandra Hulme) who helps him search for answers.

The script, penned by musician Sarah Daly, draws inspiration from pagan stories, ancient history, and Lovecraft mythos all to set the stage for its own original horror icon, the Owlman. Looking like Slenderman-meets-the-Stage-Fright-killer, the creature is definitely creepy. The costume and calm-but-menacing-voice (David Schofield) are wonderful. The story, particularly as it relates to pagan deities, shares some similarities with 2012's Sinister but I think this film actually handles those aspects better. Tears does not resort to jump scares and horror cliches. There is hardly even any blood. Instead, it more closely resembles British supernatural thrillers of the 70s.

The movie does suffer a bit when it comes to editing. It feels longer than it needs to thanks to some scenes that drag excessively. Namely, dual waltz scenes starring Hulme that, while showcasing her skills, lost my interest with their length and repetition. There are a few other shots and scenes that go on a few beats longer than they should, so the movie could definitely use some tightening. Pacing and cutting aside, Tears excels visually and delivers some genuinely unnerving moments, especially in the third act when the mystery begins to reveal itself.

 Lord of Tears was funded through Kickstarter last March and already the film is available on DVD and Blu/ray through the website ( According to their press release, Hex Media plans to eschew the traditional VOD platform and physical DVDs, instead selling a package that includes not only the film but the soundtrack, access to digital content, and a booklet filled with storyboards, behind-the-scenes photos, the script, etc. It's an impressive collection of material to say the least! The release also includes interviews, director commentary, and deleted scenes. And just like mine, it will come wrapped in black with a feather!

It's refreshing to see indie horror filmmakers really making an effort. Despite its small flaws, Lord of Tears is a unique tale of gothic horror with touches of both Poe and Lovecraft. With slow-burn mystery and an avian menace you won't soon forget, this is definitely one to watch.

I discovered some fun things while researching this movie. So here are three fun facts I learned about Lord of Tears:

1)  The film has an actual sultan as an executive producer! Sultan Saeed Al Darmaki from the United Arab Emirates helped fund this movie.

2) David Schofield, who voices the Owlman, has been in countless movies (often playing creepy assholes) but he is perhaps best known to horror fans as the dart-playing guy in the Slaughtered Lamb in An American Werewolf in London! "You made me miss...."
2) Screenwriter Sarah Daly also goes by the moniker Metaphorest (whose songs are featured in the film) and she is the cousin of Brit superstar Kate Bush.

Finally, I leave you with this newly-released and very funny video of Owlman terrorizing people on Chat Roulette: 

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