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.
Lincoln (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.
One 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.
So 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.