Back to school… back to classrooms and lunchrooms and lunch ladies and getting beat up in the bathroom by some kid calling you names. SOME KIND OF HATE has a bit of an edge over most supernatural horror films – it is based around a very real and disturbing horror, teen bullying.  Lincoln, the hero of the film, finds himself the constant target of abuse from his classmates as well as his father. One day he snaps and fights back and is shipped off to a get-back-to-nature type self-improvement camp. The teens there aren’t much better and Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein) finds himself facing the same endless cruelty. But here at the Minds Eye Academy, he discovers somebody to fight his battles for him. Moira, once a student herself at the camp, hears his desperate plea that he wishes they were all dead, and begins killing them off for Lincoln one by one. But Moira is not any alumni; she is a vengeful ghost who was subjected to the same sort of abuse when she was a student.

SOME KIND OF HATE plays well into everyone’s memory of the unfairness of bullying. Like Lincoln’s new girlfriend Kaitlin, it’s hard not to feel that these victims are getting what they deserve. It’s fun when a horror movie gives us a reason to cheer for the kills rather than just be impressed by them. And the kills themselves are pretty cool. Moira cuts her victims by cutting herself. So every kill has twice the amount of blood. Plus it may be the first time when the cutter’s mantra ‘I’ll show them, I’ll show them all’ actually pays off. Rubinstein plays Lincoln with the right amount of dark mystery and inner goodness although, as a protagonist, he is fairly inactive. By the time he figures out the history of Moira there is very little he can do about it. He has one final showdown where he is able to pin on the hero’s Silver Star but that’s about it.

Much more interesting is Grace Phipps, who plays Kaitlin, an ex-cheerleader who has dabbled on the wrong side of bullying. Fraught with guilt and self-hatred, she pushes Lincoln to stand up for himself and ends up seeking out Moira for her own purposes. Phipps fills the role with gothy hotness, angst and a razor blade edge. Her smile is electric and she is not afraid to be bad girl.

The film does a good job of placing characters around Lincoln and Kaitlin that, even if they don’t have a lot of screen time or dialogue, end up being much more complicated then their initial glimpse would suggest. In fact a lot of the plot of SOME KIND OF HATE hinges on a hidden backstory from when Moira was a student. On one hand it’s nice that the film didn’t resort to flashbacks or spend too much time on something the only has a moderate effect on the rest of the film. On the other hand, the relationship between the leader of the camp and the counselors that were students with Moira is one of the most interesting parts of the film. There is a depth present that we only see a hint of, and we are left wanting more (and that’s a good thing).

Unfortunately, for all the great groundwork Director Adam Egypt Mortimer lays in the first 50 minutes of the movie, the final third of SOME KIND OF HATE falls apart. It’s not because of the visuals or the kills, which are just as effective as the opening two-thirds of the film, it’s because of the logic. I’m obsessed with horror movie rules. Of course I’m not suggesting there are certain rules that all horror movies must follow. I’m talking about how every horror movie has to establish the rules of its world, these affect how the killer makes kills, and why they make kills and how they can be defeated. SOME KIND OF HATE takes a drastic 90° turn two-thirds of the way through the film and undercuts all the tension that had gotten us there.

While Moira originally seemed to be in avenging angel to defend teens against bullies, suddenly she begins killing anyone – including a police officer who’s work might have uncovered the horrible wrong that was done to her years ago. She also kills several of the students who weren’t bullies at all. And despite the fact that Lincoln was able to make her go away by saying he didn’t need her anymore twenty minutes earlier, Kaitlin is unable to employ the same tactic.

There’s another bit of logic that just doesn’t work that has to do with the very end of the film, which I won’t ruin, but I will say that since Moira doing harm to herself does harm to other people, wouldn’t she have to kill herself to kill someone? And if she is already dead, then the logic of fighting Moira by doing harm to oneself makes no sense. I don’t know. I just feel like the rules are somewhat arbitrary in this world, and that’s disappointing, because the film on the whole works.

Also disappointing is sudden character change for Kaitlin where she tries to prevent people from leaving the camp. If her whole character is tied to the idea that bullies must be punished then why is she trying to stop counselors from making an escape, or even more importantly, helping the innocent students escape. If Moira has somehow brought Kaitlin on for team vengeance, then that’s the scene I would like to have seen, and I would like to know what Kaitlin was going to get out of it.

The character turn seems entirely unnecessary as Moira could prevent their escape herself and Kaitlin five minutes later goes back to being a rational person. So if Moira has the power to sway people, then that also wasn’t established in the rules. I actually like the idea of Kaitlin going completely to the darkside, I just wanted to see it motivated.

In conclusion, the scene that shows up halfway through the credits doesn’t make any sense at all. It is an entirely new location and doesn’t hold true to the mythology of what we have just seen for the whole film.

Notwithstanding, SOME KIND OF HATE should please less picky fans of slasher films and hopefully get actress Grace Phipps noticed. The film opens theatrically nationwide September 18th, and on VOD and itunes simultaneous in the now standard IT FOLLOWS horror film standard.


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