Director/Writer: Adam Egypt Mortimer / Writer: Brian DeLeeuw / Cast: Ronen Rubinstein, Grace Phipps, Sierra McCormick, Spencer Breslin, Lexi Atkins, Brandon Eaton, Michael Polish, Maestro Harrell, Noah Segen, Dave Reeves, Andrew Bryniarski.
Body Count: 14-ish
Does horror cinema have a responsibility? Should it imitate life, comment, and analyse, or just serve up the grue?
Those are the questions nipping at me when I write up my thoughts on Some Kind of Hate, a well made indie slasher flick with core idea pretty much unseen anywhere else – but is it ‘okay’ to use the themes at hand for routine horror tropes?
So it goes, angsty bullied high schooler Lincoln does what all the books say and strikes back at his tormentor, slashing him with a piece of broken glass and is subsequently packed off to the Mind’s Eye Academy – a reform school ranch thingy in the middle of the desert. With no cellphone reception…
In spite of all the Yoga and feelings spoken of by the three (!) staff members, Lincoln is still picked on by in-house asshole Willie and his lugs, who want to see how Lincoln will defend himself. It’s a cock war, pretty much.
Lincoln runs and hides, taking shelter in an old basement where he says aloud how he wishes they’d all just die, with inexplicably conjures up the walkin’ talkin’ ghost of a girl who killed herself in the same basement X-years earlier, bullied to the point of cutting herself to death.
Ghostie girl – sadly not Frederica Krueger, but Moira – has the unique post-death talent of being a sort of voodoo doll for self-harming: She cuts herself, someone else bleeds. And this is how she does away first with Willie, then his friends, rapidly slashing her way through the teen occupants of the school.
Lincoln’s object of lust, Kaitlin, initially thinks he’s just making it up, an excuse to cover up the fact he did it, and when he tells Moira he no longer needs her services, Kaitlin steps up and girl and ghost share a bizarrely sexualised self-harmathon on a bed. This is where my eyebrow was raised in a quizzical “should they glamorise this stuff?” sorta way.
As always happens in these films, those responsible for bullying Moira are still around, because if you’d caused a person to commit suicide, you wouldn’t move as far away as you could, you’d also take a job in the very place where it happened. Le sigh.
Some Kind of Hate dresses itself up in clichés of emo teens – all raven black hair that shrouds their face, the heaviest of heavy metal music, nonchalance in the face of death, but in doing so passes quite a glib comment on ‘the youth of today’. There’s absolutely no optimism, nothing for them to look forward to or strive for, just complain and/or blame someone or something else.
While the idea of a self-harming-by-proxy killer is interesting, any duty of care for the culture of mentally disturbed teenagers is virtually mocked, papered over by a cast of impossibly beautiful female cast members with shorts that creep to dangerous level up their thighs. It’s this stuff that apparently matters more than a balanced view or social comment on bullying or self-harming.
Back to the original question then, when should the brakes be applied? Is gritty, “real”, goes-on-everyday anguish an acceptable target to be used in this way? With sensitive handling, why not, but in that category, Some Kind of Hate should be packed off to reform school.
Needle is a far better death-by-voodoo-shit slasher.