Some Kind of Hate (2015)

I managed to catch Some Kind Of Hate at this year’s FrightFest, and it was prefaced by director Adam Egypt Mortimer bounding onto the stage and excitably announcing that he’d made a film that was bound to appeal to people who’d ever experienced bullying. I have no doubt that he was sincere in his claims but the results are far from any kind of serviceable revenge movie.

Lincoln is a heavy metal loving teenager with dyed black hair (so far, so cliche) and an abusive father figure who one day reacts to his bullies in a rather violent way. This sees him promptly shuttled off to a wilderness retreat for troublesome delinquents where his bullying continues, but where he also meets a manic pixie dream goth who wins his fragile teenage heart through doe-eyed stares, laboured flirting and lots of lip biting.

After Lincoln accidentally awakens the spirit of another bullied, now deceased resident, the other inmates start turning up slashed to bits and the fingers are pointed at him. Will his love for Kaitlin save him, or will he submit to the supernatural forces at play?

Some Kind Of Hate is not a subtle film, and it’s hard to tell if it was meant to be. With a by-the-numbers grinding soundtrack that supplements the loud jumpy sound effects littered throughout, it plays out like a grubby, overly-loud version of a 90′s Gen X flick.

The performances are a mixed bag for the most part. While it honestly feels like everyone is giving it their all, which makes it almost painful to then criticise them, they just come across as caricatures of characters from other films. Ronen Rubinstein is woefully miscast and is far too big to play someone who can’t, or won’t, take care of themselves in a physical fight, and Grace Phipps, although incredibly pretty, seems to have channeled Twilight-era Kristen Stewart and unfortunately turned the performance up to 11.

The worst offender by far though, is the script. What might have read as profound on the page does not translate to the screen, instead sounding emabrassingly amateur. When, towards the end of the film, one character makes a sincere declaration of love out of nowhere, it prompted ripples of laughter from the entire audience, which is never a good sign.

My biggest gripe is that as an ‘alternative’ individual who was bullied as a teen, making your protagonist a mumbling, shuffling weirdo who is as much of an arsehole to his peers as they are to him will not endear me to your film. I saw nothing of myself in the character of Lincoln, instead hoping his cringeworthy diatribes about how death metal makes him feel would come to a premature end, along with his miserable life. The whole thing felt like a desperate attempt to appeal to an alternative crowd without any first-hand knowledge of what actually fuels them.

Most troublingly though, Some Kind Of Hate is not only borderline insulting to people who’ve actually been bullied, reducing them to grudge-holding pseudo-psychopaths who’d have their tormenters murdered given half the chance, it’s also worryingly flippant in the way it deals with self-harm. It seems to veer between glorifying it in one scene and then condeming it in the next without ever coming down on either side of that debate. Horror films aren’t known for their tact, nor should they be, but if your core audience are the people you’re representing on screen then it would pay to be less careless with the subject matter.

The only positive things I can say about Some Kind Of Hate are that as a teenager, it’s a film I probably would have loved. It’s curious then that Mortimer chose to make it so violent given that the people it’s sure to appeal to the most won’t legally be allowed to watch it. It’s also competently made and certainly looks fantastic, with decent cinematography.

With a better script, and a more restrained approach, Some Kind Of Hate could have been a fun supernatural slasher, but as it stands it’s a mess of a film. It may appeal to hardcore fans of gore, despite the repetitive kills, but it certainly won’t do anything for most adult audiences who want more from their modern horror fare.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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