Monday, February 26, 2018

The Black Gloves

"The Black Gloves" (2017) (aka "The Owlman 2" for streaming release) is the newest film by the team at Hex Media which includes director Lawrie Brewster and writer Sarah Daly. This is the second film to feature their creepy, scary Owlman who was also prominent in "Lord of Tears" (aka "The Owlman"). The filmmakers have created a whole mythology around the Owlman with its roots in the folklore and old religions of the Scottish highlands. This movie takes place and is styled after the film noir movies of that period and is even filmed in black and white, which adds to the atmosphere of the film. The film is a wonderful mash up of genres: film noir, psychological thriller, gothic and atmospheric horror.

The film stars Jamie Scott Gordon as Finn Galloway, Macarena Gómez as Lorena Velasco, and Alexandra Nicole Hulme as Elisa Grey.

Finn Galloway is psychologist recovering from the recent loss of a young patient of his who had been haunted by an owlman creature she sketched. To help with his grief, he begins an investigation to discover the truth behind this mythical creature. The investigation leads him to an imposing mansion at the isolated Baldurrock Estate in the Scottish highlands where a once famous ballerina, Elisa Grey is living in seclusion and silence with her very intense ballerina teacher, Lorena Velasco. 

Finn Galloway tries to convince the women that he can help bring Elisa out of her long, silent, fugue-like state by conducting counseling sessions with her.  Elisa is a fragile and lost soul after a fall from fame and other horrors she has experienced at the house. Her ever watchful and very intense ballet teacher, Lorena, is a task master that demands nothing but the best from the fragile ballerina with hopes Elena will return to stage to perform her legendary performance as the Black Swan. Lorena herself is a former ballet star who faced an injury that prevented her from pursuing her destiny so she keeps pushing Elena so she can vicariously live through any future glories of her student. The codependency of the two women is extreme with Lorena the strict mother figure and Elena the helpless child. Can Dr. Galloway figure out the puzzle of Baldurrock, the Owlman, Moloch the ancient god, the controlling and overbearing teacher and the ethereal but wounded figure who is Elisa?

Macarena Gómez who plays the wonderfully over the top and sinister teacher is a Spanish actress whose looks, gestures and speech all fit beautifully into the film noir experience the filmmakers have created. The beautiful and talented, Alexandra Nicole Hulme does a superb job playing the broken ballerina, Elisa, who does what she can to reach out to the visiting psychologist for help from the horror she is trapped in. Jamie Scott Gordon is commanding as Dr. Galloway who is working through his grief and wants to help the young woman but has his own controlling nature and tragic life experiences to deal with.

Director Lawrie Brewster, writer Sarah Daly and their team of filmmakers provide us with a film you can really enjoy. The filmmakers excel at the cinematography. The rocking motion of the camera during the dream and/or reality sequences adds to the intense turmoil and tension on the screen very effectively. The filmmakers painstakingly created a film like that from the 1940s, very effectively using black and white film while mastering the use of shadows, reflections, sinister silhouettes and candlelight that makes this film so memorable. The Victorian looking Owlman with its long fingers and tall figure, is a very sinister creature you wouldn't want to run across in the woods or lurking around the corner of the hall. Whenever we see the Owlman onscreen it is a startlingly creepy experience.

Will the lengths that Elisa goes through trying to survive her experiences at Baldurrock with the Owlman, Lorena and Dr. Galloway, give her the strength to find herself and to live for another day?

I really enjoyed this horror noir film and highly recommend you immerse yourself into the dark, moody, contemplative and psychologically complex experience that is "The Black Gloves".

You can purchase this film at Hex Media's Hex Store.