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Film Notes

FrightFest review – Some Kind of Hate

some_kind_of_hateSome Kind of Hate

A particularly gruesome teen-themed ghost story, this delivers the expected horror film shocks but also effectively explores the theme of bullying in surprising depth.  It takes its time to set up characters before the supernatural business starts and even as the body count climbs takes care to focus on the relationships between its mixed-up characters … which, in an unusual turn, extend to the vengeful spirit, who is given more depth of characterisation than the familiar silent grudge-holding spooks of Japanese-influenced horror and even goes Freddie Krueger one better in her well-motivated campaign against unpleasant kids.

Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein), a clever but withdrawn teenager, finally reacts to years of daily abuse by stabbing a bully with a fork … which gets him sent to a desert camp for teens who’ve had brushes with the law, only for his reputation to incite resident bullies into picking on him even more in the hope that he’ll freak out.  Though befriended by Kaitlin (Grace Phipps), a former cheerleader and scarifier, Lincoln is pushed to pray for deliverance …which arrives in the form of Moira (Sierra McCormick), an inmate from an earlier generation who supposedly killed herself and now takes the opportunity to kill Lincoln’s tormentors before going after her own enemies, who now run the camp.  With a necklace of razorblades and bloody gashes, Moira is a striking apparition – and her method of mutilation is to make herself a living voodoo doll (a little like Gabourey Sidibe in the Coven season of American Horror Story) and inflict harm upon herself which transfers to her victims.  Naturally, if they try to defend themselves by stabbing or shooting her, they suffer the consequences.

The screenplay by Brian DeLeeeuw and director Adam Egypt Mortimer lets Moira’s backstory out in bursts, but also takes the familiar theme of the mortal who comes to regret a pact made with a demon in new directions as Moira’s crusade begins to repulse the surprisingly moral Lincoln but fascinate Kaitlin, who has her own secrets.  It has a grimy, very physical look and good use of the desert setting – Moira is a very solid ghost, and her curse has bloody real-world effects which make for pretty strong horror sequences, though there’s an ambiguity to the depiction even of justified fates meted out to horrible people that suggests a humane worldview at odds with the prevailing misanthropy of too much contemporary horror.  Onetime Leatherface Andrew Bryniarski cameos as Lincoln’s thuggish father, but this doesn’t otherwise go in for fan-service casting.  McCormick’s Moira has the potential to be a franchise monster, and a coda reveals that any bullied teenager anywhere can invoke her …

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