The Black Gloves review: A psychologist must rescue a reclusive ballerina from the menacing Owlman in this throwback to vintage horror.
The Black Gloves review by Kat Hughes.
It seems that rather than look to the future, a lot of filmmakers look to the past for inspiration. This is certainly a contributing factor to the multitude of remakes and reboots, and yet sometimes filmmakers are merely seeking to reignite the interest of a forgotten genre or movie style. Director Lawrie Brewster is one such filmmaker. His latest cinematic offering, The Black Gloves, which premiered at Horror Channel Frightfest’s Halloween marathon, seeks to transport us back to the heyday of Hammer Horror and Hitchcock.
Psychologist Finn Galloway (Jamie Scott Gordon) is haunted by memories of a young patient who disappeared. Before vanishing, she spoke of a menacing owl-headed figure that plagued her nightmares. As he hunts for clues about her whereabouts, Finn is lead to a reclusive ballerina whom is also tormented by visions of this sinister ‘Owlman’. Desperate to save this new woman from the same fate as his former charge, he starts to counsel her, much to her ballet teacher’s irritation. Finn soon finds his sanity unravelling as he becomes caught in a web of paranoia, deadly desire, and ballet.
Shot in black and white, The Black Gloves feels very authentic to the time period it is trying to emulate. Were someone to wander into a screening with no prior knowledge of the film, one could easily be forgiven for thinking they were watching a restoration of a vintage film. That’s how well it nails the look and feel of that era. The advantage of having modern day tech create a black and white film is that everything looks nice and crisp, it’s one of the most sumptuous monochromatic movies we’ve seen.
The cast also do a great job of channelling that stylises the slightly melodramatic acting style of yesteryear. Gordon gives brilliant scared and horrified faces, and Macarena Gómez is perfectly cast as the mean and unhinged ballet teacher. Everyone also enunciates beautifully, all of that modern trend of mumbling abandoned; it really does make such a difference when you can actually hear and understand what the characters are saying.
A film like this is made by its villain, and The Owlman (a character brought back from a previous Brewster film) is suitably chilling. Much like The Slenderman, it’s the skeletal like visual that unnerves the viewer, and the image of it walking oh so slowly towards you is one that will stick in your memory.
The Black Gloves may look like a film from the Hammer Horror era, but it’s not. It does however, emulate films from that time period and ultimately succeeds in feeling authentic. A Lovecraftian Gothic romantic horror with Hitchcockian levels of mystery and suspense, The Black Gloves is a great throwback to a forgotten era.
The Black Gloves review by Kat Hughes, October 2017.
The Black Gloves screened as part of the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween 2017 programme.