**Contains Some Spoilers**
Bullying in horror movies is by no means covering new ground. For decades the genre has focused on the underdog, a character who is mistreated but summons the strength to fight back against their attackers once the stakes are raised.
Revenge as a theme is also familiar territory and has played a key part in a broad scope of horror films over the years, from Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976) and its subsequent remakes, to Lucky McKee’s May (2002) to cult 80’s slasher Sleepaway Camp (1983), and even Skins-inspired Brit Flick Tormented (2009). These films share the common theme of an empathetic protagonist who essentially snaps; blurring the lines between victim and horror villain.
Some Kind of Hate deals with these concepts and while it’s far from original it touches on the impact of bullying culture within the teenage generation.
Some Kind of Hate is the directorial debut of Adam Egypt Mortimer. Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstien) is a troubled teenager sent to a reform school located in the middle of a barren wasteland. Life doesn’t get much better for him when he is set upon by a group of jocks who take pleasure in tormenting him on a daily basis. His only solace is in like-minded love interest Kaitlin (Grace Phipps- Fright Night (2011) Tales of Halloween (2015) who also harbours a dark past.
Events take a sinister turn when some of his tormenters end up dead due to the accidental summoning of a spirit named Moira (Sierra McCormick). Moira once was an afflicted girl who met a horrific end at the same institution. Lincoln and Moira’s pain collides and the blood spills but will he realize that hate and violence is not the answer.
Some Kind of Hate is beautifully shot, capturing the space and isolation of its core theme, its somewhat reminiscent of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane (2006) in its visual style. Cinematography-wise it’s a polished effort and utilizes the editing to its full potential, it relaxes on the jump scares which is always refreshing in a film focusing on a vengeful spirit. The script on the whole however needed fleshing out as the characters come across as one-dimensional and stereotypical.
Lincoln is played as the brooding metalhead who is picked on for his alternative tastes while his tormentors are the superficial jocks that have been seen time and time again. The set-up appeared too basic as the film began but it does pick up the pace midway through. Kaitlin is the most well-written and rounded character, the former bitchy cheerleader with a wakeup call who has more to her than meets the eye. Grace Phipps gives an outstanding performance and does carry the film amongst its duller moments.
The character of Moira is the most problematic. Hateful, vengeful and furious, she is difficult to empathize with and is simply the typical hell-bent ghost who murders innocent people in a quest for revenge on ALL bullies. Sierra McCormick’s performance is very hammy at times bordering on unconvincing. That said, Moira’s methods of murder are innovative as she uses herself as a voodoo doll, slicing herself in order to slice her victims. The issue is, Moira is depicted as an out and out, unrelenting villain leaving her plight unjustified.
The link between self-harm and bullying is very real and incredibly devastating however the aggressive tone of the film on whole doesn’t offer any kind of hope and essentially suggests that teenagers who enjoy goth/emo/heavy metal culture without a doubt will cut themselves. This kind of pigeonholing in the film is off-putting as well as clichéd; combined with the lack of depth in the character development makes the concept come across as hollow and undermining to teenagers.
Self-harm and teen suicide are delicate subjects especially with the rise in social media and if they are weakly executed then it’s probably best left alone. Yes, it’s primarily in a horror movie context however the messages presented appear to be “if you like rock music and gothic culture it’s part of the package to self-harm” and “if people are being mean to you your only option is to cut yourself to get through it”.
Fans of darker media are primarily the target audience therefore it’s overall in poor taste to categorize in such a way. Some Kind of Hate is pretty much an average horror film, there’s nothing ground breaking going on, it is well-made but includes some questionable ideas.
Some Kind of Hate is part of the Frightfest Presents releases. It will literally be slashing its way on DVD on May 9th.