Lord of Misrule (2023) – Review and Summary

“Lord of Misrule” excels at setting the tone for a frightening time, but after a while, the shadows and masks can be tiresome.


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)

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“Lord of Misrule” Film Summary

“Lord of Misrule” creates a chilling atmosphere with demons lingering in shadows and in the distance. William Brent Bell and Tom de Ville’s folk horror movie is a great addition to the genre and a masterclass in creepy mise en scène, but the slow pace and flirtations of horror might frustrate some viewers wanting more blood than chills. 

“Lord of Misrule” starts with Reverend Rebecca Holland (Tuppence Middleton) baptizing a baby in her new church. Rebecca is new to town, but the people openly welcome her and introduce her to the town’s traditions. Rebecca’s family struggles living in the new area, with Rebecca’s husband Henry (Matt Stokoe) especially unmotivated to finish his work and staying at home to take care of their daughter. Unknown to Rebecca and Henry, their daughter is demonstrating disturbing behavior and seeing masked figures out in the countryside. 

When the town’s harvest festival arrives, Rebecca learns that the people have a tradition of having a Lord of Misrule cast out a demon by dancing with him. The Lord of Misrule is played by townie Jocelyn Abney (Ralph Ineson), a man who has his own complicated history with religion and the harvest festival. The festival may seem like fun, but by night, Rebecca and Henry are left in horror as their daughter goes missing. 

An investigation into their missing daughter starts, but Rebecca suspects the town’s history and customs may paint a more sinister picture than anyone wishes to confess. While Rebecca conducts her own investigation into a previous missing person’s case that may connect to her daughter, she’s also becoming more and more suspicious of the people who welcomed her into town. 

“Lord of Misrule” is all about faith in what you don’t see. Whether it be gods or demons, “Lord of Misrule” examines how much control we can have over what we can’t understand or see. The fear of the unknown is the film’s greatest strength and weakness, as people continue to be horrified by something the movie doesn’t show. “Lord of Misrule” excels at setting the tone for a frightening time, but after a while, the shadows and masks can be tiresome.

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“Lord of Misrule” Character Descriptions

Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member.

Rebecca Holland

Rebecca is a new minister in a cozy town that celebrates harvest festivals and a folksy community. But when her daughter goes missing in town, Rebecca becomes wary of the townspeople and her own religion. 

  • The actor is also known for their roles in “Downton Abbey” and “Sense8.”

Jocelyn Abney

Jocelyn Abney traditionally plays the Lord of Misrule in the town’s harvest festival. Jocelyn is hesitant to support the new minister’s faith and has had his own child go missing 12 years prior.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “The Witch.”

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Henry Holland

As Rebecca’s husband, Henry spends most of his time at home taking care of their daughter. His lack of work and initiative creates tension between the couple that only increases when their daughter goes missing. 

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Jamestown.”

Review


Community Rating: 75% (1 votes)


Our Rating:  Mixed (Divisive)

Highlights

Creepy Mise en Scene Immerses the Viewer

From the grotesque costumes and masks to the foggy and dimly lit settings, “Lord of Misrule” knows how to create a spooky atmosphere. Each place feels cozy and unsettling, as if horror lurks in each doorway. The staging of characters and camera movements add to the growing tension as we transition with Rebecca from trusting her community to feeling trapped by it. 

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On The Fence

Abrupt Transitions and Slow Pacing

There are moments of terror in “Lord of Misrule” where the strings and screams grow, only for the scene to fade to black and take us somewhere else. Some may feel the transition isn’t important, but I’m left wondering how Rebecca got from Point A to Point B. The largest frustration is when Rebecca meets the demon and then we cut to her with the townspeople again. These transitions cut the film’s momentum and leave us wanting more. 

Anticlimactic Ending

“Lord of Misrule” teases the viewer with malice and horror in every scene. The film does well hinting that something wicked this way comes, but when we get to the wicked, “Lord of Misrule” goes out with a whimper instead of a band. The stunted transitions, the CGI faceless deer demon, and the quick cut to a happy ending feel lackluster.

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Who Is This For?

Fans of horror, cult horror, folk horror, and creepy atmospheres might enjoy “Lord of Misrule.”

“Lord of Misrule” General Information

Director William Brent Bell
Screenplay By Tom de Ville
Based On Work By N/A
Date Released December 8, 2023
How To Watch Video On Demand
Genre(s) Horror

Mystery

Film Length 1 Hour, 44  Minutes
Content Rating Not Rated
Noted Characters and Cast
Rebecca Holland Tuppence Middleton
Jocelyn Abney Ralph Ineson
Henry Holland Matt Stokoe

Content Rating Explanation

“Lord of Misrule” is not rated, but features frightening images, child abduction, and violence. 

Recommendations

If you like this movie, we recommend:

  1. Midsommar 
  2. The Last Exit
  3. The Witch

Check out our movies page for our latest movie reviews and recommendations.

lord of misrule
Lord of Misrule (2023) – Review and Summary
Overall
The fear of the unknown is the film’s greatest strength and weakness, as people continue to be horrified by something the movie doesn’t show. “Lord of Misrule” excels at setting the tone for a frightening time, but after a while, the shadows and masks can be tiresome.
Highlights
Creepy Mise en Scene Immerses the Viewer
Disputable
Abrupt Transitions and Slow Pacing
Anticlimactic Ending
77

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