DIRECTOR Adam Egypt Mortimer WRITER Brian DeLeeuw; Adam Egypt Mortimer STARS Ronen Rubinstein; Sierra McCormick; Lexi Atkins DVD 9 May
Part ghost story, part slasher film, Some Kind of Hate is an interesting if at times slightly formulaic tale of revenge. However, with its bleak karmic mantra and themes concerning the unique pain of adolescence, the devastating impact of bullying, self-harm and revenge, it’s a frequently intense viewing experience. The deliberate pacing of the first half enables Mortimer to establish some of the characters and explore their dynamics. Protagonist Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein) is a troubled loner who suffers daily at the hands of high-school bullies. When he violently retaliates he’s packed off to a desert commune for young misfits, only to again suffer at the hands of bullies. His rage summons an undead avenger, herself the victim of bullying, who wreaks bloody havoc on his behalf.
The narratives of many slasher films are frequently driven by revenge for a past wrongdoing. A number of titles, including Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985) and Wilderness (2006), have also featured troubled teenage delinquents as main characters, but completely wasted the opportunity to explore their flawed psychologies. Some Kind of Hate makes a better attempt to characterise its troubled souls, however, despite uniformly decent performances from the cast, only several characters actually feel fleshed out; the rest are just razor-blade fodder. At times it threatens to unspool as a typical slasher-by-numbers, but as various twists are added to the mix, it all becomes quite engrossing indeed.
Moira (Sierra McCormick) makes for an interesting antagonist. Her tragic backstory enables the filmmakers to explore notions of empathy as she is arguably as much a victim as the individuals she violently immolates. A troubled young woman in life, she was murdered by bullies who covered up her death to make it look like suicide. In death she’s a vengeful and merciless wraith who uses her extremely violent methods of self-harm to dispatch her victims: when she cuts and injures herself, her lethal wounds are inflicted upon her victims. The bloody make-up effects depicting various wrist and throat slashes are extremely effective and provoke requisite winces from the viewer. A particularly troubling scene reveals the full extent of Moira’s sadistic rage and inner turmoil: as she confronts Lincoln her whole body appears to spill blood from countless self-inflicted wounds and lacerations.
Despite a low budget, Some Kind of Hate is beautifully filmed. The bright, burnished exteriors of the sun-flared desert landscape make for a stark contrast with the drab, dark interiors of the commune; a contrast which lends itself well to the central theme of bullying. Things might appear okay on the outside, but, peek inside, into the psychological landscape, and dank, painful secrets lurk, aching to be revealed.