Supernatural slasher ‘Some Kind of Hate’, directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, stars Ronen Rubinstein as Lincoln – the perpetual teenage victim. Similarly to Deathgasm – but nowhere near as awesome – we are introduced to our outcast, a black-wearing heavy metal loving protagonist who has a bit of a shitty life but ultimately just embodies woe is me to the max.

Cue a hazy flashback scene of someone’s point of view looking up from a basement gasping for help and then cut to the rumbling death metal opening track and we are thrown into our hero’s dilemma. Whether he is at home or at school there’s no escape from intimidating bullies. During lunch Lincoln snaps and stabs his high school nemesis attacker in the face with his fork – not brutally or anything just a quick scratch after months of abuse from the same sickly so-called popular guy who kinda deserves it. The unending stream of ‘why is life so unfair’ teenage drivel continues when Lincoln gets the blame for the whole fight and is sent to a correctional institute of sorts.

Cut to Mind’s Eye Academy – a new age reform school in the middle of the desert which is all yoga, no phones and Namaste. Lincoln attempts to keep his head down, but his role as the victim is still alive and well when the bullies target him here too. Frustrated, he confides in his not actually naughty enough to be at a reform school roomie: ‘I want to live in a world where assholes get what they deserve’.

All sounds familiar right? Like you’ve seen these characters and this narrative a million times over – that’s because you have in just about every teen drama on the planet. Although, surprisingly, that isn’t the reason I failed to enjoy Some Kind of Hate.

Lincoln falls for a bad girl and falls prey to the bullies finally before continuously repeating out loud to himself in a snivelling frenzy “I wish they would all die” when he accidentally summons or awakens Moira [Sierra McCormick] – a lost bullied spirit manifest in physical form from beyond the grave. She wants his pain and her revenge and channels it into ridding Mind’s Eye Academy of its staff and student body – starting with those who tormented Lincoln most. I guess here is where the horror / slasher element was supposed to kick off – but it failed to deliver massively and to be honest, offended me a fair bit.

It’s worth noting that as a horror fan I am not easily offended. However, any great writer or director knows that taboo or difficult subjects need to be handled with care. Even if Mortimer’s actions were well intended, unfortunately here he misses the mark and creates some carelessly tasteless scenes.

The tasteless element in this film is the fact that Moira reaps revenge by her hurting their oppressors via the unconventional method of self-harm: everything she does to herself they feel, so if she slits her wrists or her neck they bear the brunt of the injury. Although the cuts do carve into Moira time and again too – but obviously she can’t be killed, she’s a ‘ghost’.

Now while I appreciate the attempt to integrate the thematic content of the film being focused on troubled teenagers into the killer’s methodology – for example, it works well for Moira to kill them in this way as the deaths are explained away and ignored by police because it seems likely that these kinds of kids would commit or attempt suicide. However, this aspect of it definitely left a bad taste in the mouth with regards to how the issue of self-harm is treated and interpreted by society. The abuse subtext becomes main text, and slow motion cutting or Lincoln’s girlfriend proclaiming cutting her thighs to be ‘her version of death metal’ it all feels a little fetishized and stereotyped. Throw in the awkward erotically charged cutting sequence between two teenage girls on a bed plus a confrontation where two characters dynamically harm themselves, to damage the other, and it feels like almost completely irresponsible film making with regards to its treatment of what is a very real or potentially personal problem for many viewers.

I understand that films, particularly horror films have artistic licence in terms of how and when to push the boundaries and really there should be no theme or narrative that should be left untouched – providing it is supported by great dialogue and even better context. In Some Kind of Hate it felt unjustified and over stylised imposing clichés about self-harm, bullying and those who suffer mental anguish.

Glamorising self-harm, making it seem sexy or something overly emotional teenage girls do was crass to say the least. The reason I was even more shocked by this? The film was coined by many in the run up to this screening as a ‘feminist slasher’.

Using the word ‘feminist’ to describe this film is completely laughable. Again, like the self-harm sequences I’m sure it was a well-intentioned if not slightly ill-advised notion of feminism being about a girl taking control, gaining power and reaping revenge on those who made her feel powerless but even then you’re clutching at straws to call it ‘feminist’. Add that poor interpretation of the basic idea of feminism – women and men being socially, economically and politically equal – to the gratuitous upshots of girls with denim hot pants riding so high they may as well be knickers, a yoga instructor who is scantily clad and bedding a pupil of Mind’s Eye and an implied lesbian sex sequence where Moira and a female pupil writhes with pleasure as they cut each other and you have the complete antithesis of feminism – crass, clichéd stereotypes of female characters. It’s all in there.

Some Kind of Hate looks at bullying with arguably some realistic pointers towards the now common use of social media, photo messaging and websites. It shows the lengths people can be pushed to and plays on the idea of disrespect turning into cold hearted revenge.

At best I would call this bully-revenge with a supernatural twist and it is fair that it does have a slight moral slant in terms of bullying but also seeking or wishing revenge upon someone else. But the kills are boringly repetitive and as previously mentioned uncomfortably framed as self-harm and Moira’s back story and need for revenge feels weak – I felt no affinity with her or Lincoln. In fact I wasn’t rooting for anyone, instead feeling exasperated at the overly-emo dialogue and once again lazy use of ‘troubled’ or ‘mentally ill’ outcasts being the ones to watch out for.

 

 

Frightfest London review: Some Kind Of Hate
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About The Author

Emily Stockham

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing – although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.