Timeless folk horror is reaching new heights, and William Brent Bell's latest creation, LORD OF MISRULE, cements his place as an innovative filmmaker in the dark fantasy genre. Drawing parallels to Guillermo Del Toro's early works, Bell takes a different route by exploring gothic and sinister undertones in his films.
LORD OF MISRULE showcases Bell's versatility, residing in a realm between splendor and cult devilry. While the film boasts brilliant performances that keep viewers captivated, it unfortunately falls into the category of lost folk horror with immense potential but a less than satisfying resolution.
The film's exceptional look and feel seamlessly blend with its dark enchanted tale set in a small town that worships an ancient god. The narrative unfolds as the new minister, Rebecca (Tuppence Middleton), attempts to remind the townsfolk of the god they should honor. However, tragedy strikes when her daughter goes missing during the annual festival, leading the story into a harrowing journey of a family searching for answers.
Ralph Ineson emerges as the standout performer, bringing a towering presence to his role. While the film effectively reveals the mystery behind Grace, the missing child, it neglects to provide clear reasons for why the family found themselves in this ominous town in the first place. These unanswered questions become more pressing for the audience than the disappearance itself.
Despite similarities to other films in the genre, LORD OF MISRULE distinguishes itself with its originality. Bell's ability to infuse a tad more sinisterness and appeal into his other features sets this film apart. Although it may not fully capitalize on its potential, LORD OF MISRULE remains a solid folk horror with enough aesthetic pleasures to warrant multiple viewings. While it may not offer all the answers, it presents a captivating and mysterious journey that will find its audience in the realm of dark fantasy enthusiasts.
LORD OF MISRULE Directed by William Brent Bell
Written by Tom de Ville
Produced by Nik Bower and Deepak Nayar
Producers Jason Newmark, Laurie Cook, William Brent Bell, James Tomlinson, Alison Brister
Executive Producers Mark Fielding, Laura Brook, John Gleeson, Oisín O’Neill, Stephen Kelliher,
Starring Tuppence Middleton, Ralph Ineson, Matt Stokoe, Evie Templeton