by Patrick Bromley
There is so much to like in Some Kind of Hate, the feature directing debut of Adam Egypt Mortimer. For its first half hour, it's one of the best horror movies of the year: made with impressive confidence, full of striking widescreen compositions courtesy of Benji Bakshi and focusing on a unique group of characters in a way that reminded me somewhat of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. These aren't often the protagonists of a slasher movie, and for a while Some Kind of Hate doesn't feel like most other slasher movies. Eventually that uniqueness goes away and the movie becomes another version of the thing we've seen so many times already, albeit one that's well made.
Ronen Rubenstein plays Lincoln, a teenage boy with a rough home life and an even worse situation at school, where he's constantly picked on by rich, popular bullies. One day Lincoln is pushed too far and jams a fork into one of the bullies; as a result, he's sent to the middle of the desert to attend a reform camp for troubled kids. As he grows closer to the equally troubled Kaitlin (Grace Phipps of Dark Summer), the kids at the camp start getting killed off by Moira (Disney Channel star Sierra McKormick), the vengeful spirit of a girl who was bullied and died at the camp and can be conjured up by those seeking revenge. It's like if Pumpkinhead was a cutter.
It's frustrating, then, to see the movie eventually devolve into a mess of confused motivations and repetitive scenes of Moira attacking; one of the tropes of the slasher movie is that the killer usually mixes up the way he or she dispatches victims, but with Moira it's always the same -- she cuts herself somewhere and the same wound is suffered by her target. The setup and payoff is always the same, and for a movie that wants to inflict some revenge on bullies who "deserve" it, there's a point at which people just start dying whether they're innocent or not. I get it -- Moira is a monster, even if she is righteously just at points -- but because the language of the film treats all of the deaths the same, there is no emotional difference between those that have it coming and those who are truly innocent victims. What starts out so strong gradually loses its way.
Almost Human fame) pops up for a cameo -- a little reward for those of us who follow indie horror. This is a group of people with whom I'm happy to spend time in a movie.