Adam Egypt Mortimer’s feature film debut Some Kind of Hate has a very powerful message that drives its narrative, shining a light on bullying and the pain and destruction it can cause. I love that Mortimer wanted to take a very real subject and tell it with a supernatural edge, creating a wicked villain with a hunger for razor blades and revenge. In it, a bullied teenager is sent to a reform school where he accidentally summons the spirit of a girl, herself a victim of bullying, who takes vengeance on his tormentors.
Some Kind of Hate is entirely fueled by the idea of bullying, and while that is no doubt a great subject for a horror film, the biggest issue I had with it was in the way it’s presented—it’s so heavy-handed that it becomes a distraction. It starts with the kid, Lincoln, getting bullied at home by his own dad before he goes to school; okay, I’ll buy that. A lot of people have a dipshit for a father. When he gets to school he is immediately bullied again, but this time it’s by some kid who comes out of thin air and starts a fight with him—it’s very briefly mentioned that this particular kid has been bullying Lincoln for a while, but it’s basically just thrown out there to give the fight some context (It still feels pointless, though).
At this point we’re probably five minutes into the movie and it has already exhausted its message about bullying. We get it! But it doesn’t really become a problem until Lincoln shows up to reform school—for stabbing that bully in the face with a fork—when Some Kind of Hate really starts to hit you over the head with its message. Either Lincoln is like light to flies when it comes to attracting the douchiest people in the world, or he just has the worst luck ever because as soon as it arrives at a middle-of-nowhere reform school he gets bullied by a handful of kids (of course he does!). It’s so over-the-top that it makes summoning a killer spirt feel more probable. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but if this film can do it why can’t I?
So once we’ve established that everyone in the world is a bully to Lincoln, the film finally starts to pick up by introducing us to Moira, a nasty little villain that Lincoln unwittingly summons. The film doesn’t exactly explain how or why Lincoln was able to summon her, though, so just go with it… I guess. But once Moira shows up Some Kind of Hate gets a little bit more interesting as she goes around slaughtering every asshole she can get her hands on. The kills are fun and gory, showing us just what kind of monster Moira is—she stalks her prey with a wicked smile and torment on her mind. It’s a shame that everything leading up to Moira was such a mess because she’s a very clever, mean as hell monster that deserved a better movie.
There is some good, though, and it mostly comes towards the end where Mortimer shows what kind of talent he can bring to the genre. There are some viciously cool shots that are executed brilliantly, leading us towards its surprisingly cool, but ultimately confusing finale. I think the film was on the right path and had some great ideas, but it just wasn’t executed very well. Moira, as cool as she is, just wasn’t enough to save Mortimer’s messy debut.