Some Kind Of Hate (2015) Review

somekoh1Some Kind Of Hate (2015)

Starring: Ronen Rubinstein, Grace Phipps, Spencer Breslin, Sierra McCormick

Director: Adam Egypt Mortimer

UK DVD Release May 9th 2016 from Icon & Frightfest Presents

Some Kind of Hate is the greatest teen-angst horror since Ginger Snaps‘.

I am most definitely not in the habit of making ‘greatest’ statements, and gave this movie long and careful thought, but no matter how I tried, I could find no fault with it. It is the first movie I have reviewed for UKHS that I am giving a perfect 10.

I have always been a fan of proper teen horrors – the dead teenager kind are still a hoot, but I refer to the ones that really focus on the hardships of adolescence – and Carrie was always my favourite. Having been the weird, unpopular type for the majority of high school and understood what it was to feel isolated, depressed and hateful, these movies have always spoken to me. This movie is the first in a long time to be so perfectly in tune with a difficult adolescence, and to reflect this narratively and visually with such strength.

skoh4Lincoln (Rubinstein) is from an abusive home, in which his Hell’s Angels-type father rages at him and beats him up. At school, he is physically abused by the jocks. He bottles all of his rage, and one day stabs his aggressor in the face with a fork. As a result, he is sent to the Mind’s Eye Academy, a half-baked hippy retreat/criminal rehab facility for troubled teens, described as a place where they will ‘attune’ themselves and ‘destroy the impulses that got them there’. The place is as if random patches of a run-down city suburb had been ripped up and sporadically transplanted in the dusty valley, but it is really pretty beautiful.

Although he meets a girl, Kaitlin (Phipps), who is a great match for him and completes a really strong onscreen duo with brilliant chemistry, even the Academy has its thug population, a trio of idiots who promptly settle on Lincoln as their next target. When their victimisation of Lincoln finally releases his pent up rage, he unwittingly summons the ghost of a former campmate who committed suicide as a result of bullying. This is what sets in motion the horror premise of young people who we don’t really care for being slaughtered until (perhaps not even) the only likeable ones are left.

skoh2One of the movie’s unexpected turns is the almost Dickensian introduction of the ghost as a real character, and not the manifestation of the need to make the audience jump every 12 minutes or so. Moira (McCormick) is something of a reflection of Lincoln, a worst case scenario of entrapment in eternal rage and torment as a reflection of a troubled life. Her character is used to an extent so moving and unknown to this sort of a film, and it is one of many qualities that makes it so brilliant.

So much is unique about this film, which is great for a subgenre that many are quick to dismiss. A troubled adolescence is portrayed with such truth, striking balance between madness and the glimpses of bliss the right person can bring. It is emotive and passionate, and speaks veritably without false idealisations of a lost time. The movie plays with many interesting ideas and never goes where expected. It is stylised and directed like a rock music video, with beautiful use of colour to set moods and excellent visual narrative. And despite its very slick and professional production, it maintains its sense of indie grass roots.

skoh5So what, I found myself wondering, is there not to love about a movie that is beautiful to look at, wonderfully acted, intensely emotional and relatable, original, expressive and still scary? Ultimately, I decided it was as near to a perfect teen-angst horror as modern filmmakers could achieve, and subsequently fell in love a little.

Rating: 10/10

Holidays (2016) Review

holidays1Holidays (2016)

Directed by Anthony Scott Burns ,Kevin Kolsch ,Nicholas McCarthy ,Adam Egypt Mortimer ,Gary Shore ,Kevin Smith ,Sarah Adina Smith ,Scott Stewart ,Dennis Widmyer ,Ellen Reid.

Starring: Kevin Smith, Lorenza Izzo, Seth Green and many more.

Plot from IMDB. HOLIDAYS is an anthology feature film that puts a uniquely dark and original spin on some of the most iconic and beloved holidays of all time by challenging our folklore, traditions and assumptions.

Horror anthologies based around our most love holidays (as in the U.S. term for Christmas, Halloween etc..) are ten a penny these days. Just last year we had Tales of Halloween and A Christmas Horror Story both striking a chord with horror fans. Holidays, however consists of eight short horror films spanning a spectrum of different holidays throughout the year. This means that the film makers chosen to participate have a much larger scope in which to be creative.

Holidays hands the directorial reigns over to ten directors, from the experienced Kevin Smith (Silent Bob from the Jay and Silent Bob movies), to newcomer Ellen Reid and a whole range of people in between.

holidays3Leading us off, and thus setting the expectations for the rest of the anthology is St. Valentines day (directed by Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch), a take on the often told tale of a bullied teenager, with the twist of her falling in love with her teacher. The teacher is currently awaiting a heart transplant, and this alone should telegraph what comes next! Although a lot of this segment is full of cheesy acting, we are confronted with darker elements, such as the effects the bullying has on the poor girl.

Next up is St.Patricks Day, an Irish offering from Gary Shore (Dracula Unbound). Just like the last segment, this also deals with sexuality in a roundabout way when a schoolteacher is impregnated by a creepy Pagan imp. This is as messed up as it sounds, and the shock tactics used and the delightfully messed up ending makes this one work!

At 3, we have Nicholas McCarthy’s Easter themed nightmare about a young girl who is listed by a terrifying Easter Bunny/Jesus hybrid. This is a very well executed segment that really goes all out with its creature design. The unique take on the bunny should impress any horror fan.

We continue with Sarah Adina Smith’s pregnancy thriller, Mother’s Day, is a deeply emotional tale about a woman who gets pregnant everytime she has sex. Mothers day may just be the best of the bunch. Its sharp social commentary on womanhood and how society imposes this social duty upon women really does make you think. My other half commented that this is her greatest nightmare and told me it made her think twice about having sex for a few days (cheers Sarah!)

holidays2Following Mothers Day, comes Fathers Day. This falls a little flat if I’m honest. A young woman receives a tape from her father, who believed was dead, and follows the instruction given to find him. The majority of this segment is just shots of her walking the streets looking for her destination. I was convinced that this was just a set up to a big jump scare, but no, nothing! The worse defiantly followed the best!

Up next we have a segment from the films most experienced director, Kevin Smith. He had what should have been the easiest to make scary, Halloween. Smith cast his own daughter as one of 3 cam girls in the segment, who decide to take revenge on their hilariously over the top, cruel boss. The entire segment is built around one sadistic, yet adolescent prank. This is a “marmite” segment, as you will either love it or hate it. I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

The penultimate tale is entered on Christmas, and stars Seth Green as a dad who uses all his hustle and uses morally questionable methods to get the toy stores last “must have” gift for his son. The gift is a sort of Oculus Rift style VR headset. Again, I’m sure any horror fan can guess the general story to this short, so I wont spoil it here.

To finish off is New Years Eve, where a serial killer who preys on women makes a date for himself on NYE. The painfully awkward conversations over dinner telegraphs were this one is going, but the ending still has some shock value.

holidays4As a whole, Holidays is entirely forgettable. I personally would have preferred they had gone with a “Trick r Treat” style film, with less segments that gave each one a little longer to develop. But if your a fan of short films, then please, give it a go.

4/10