Lincoln Taggert (Ronen Rubinstein) is a teen who is tormented by his classmates and his father (Andrew Bryniarski). One day he lashes out against one of the bullies at school injuring him, so Lincoln is sent to a camp for troubled teens. Lincoln makes fast friends with a fellow outcast named Isaac (Spencer Breslin, yes Abigail’s older brother) and an attractive young lady named Kaitlin (Grace Phipps). That’s pretty much where the good times end for Lincoln as he is swiftly targeted by the camp’s bullies led by the preppy and arrogant Willie (Maestro Harrell). Enter Moira (Sierra McCormick), a vengeful ghost that Lincoln inadvertently summons when he wishes all of his tormentors dead. What follows is sort of like if Moaning Myrtle killed Draco Malfoy and his friends on behalf of Harry Potter and Co.
First-time director Adam Egypt Mortimer does a competent job presenting the screenplay that he wrote with co-writer Brian DeLeeuw. My blood boiled as I watched Lincoln pushed around by all of the assholes in his life and I wanted to them reap the whirlwind as much as the character probably did. Ronan Rubinstein really sells the tortured teen bit during the first act of the film. His performance succeeds in bringing the audience on as an ally. It’s when the stakes are raised and the supernatural elements are trotted out at the end of the second act that we see cracks in the facade. When gravitas is called for in some of the dialogue driven scenes, Rubinstein’s delivery plays comically understated. This could be a deliberate choice, but it doesn’t jive too well with the film’s otherwise heavy subject matter. That said, Rubinstein is a striking screen presence that reminded me a bit of a young John Travolta.
Grace Phipps as bad girl Kaitlin also delivers a good if somewhat uneven performance. I was reminded of Harrison Ford’s famous quote about George Lucas’ screenplay for the first Star Wars movie: “George, you can type this shit, but you can’t say it!” Some of the scenarios that Phipps is tasked with playing out are very challenging and hard to take seriously. It’s a rock and a hard place situation for the actors. When Lincoln and Kaitlin discover that a ghost is killing their classmates they seem nonplussed. A bigger reaction might have been better since the “big scream” moment has become somewhat of a horror movie cliche. The alternative that the filmmakers chose feels a little weird and underplayed.
Some Kind of Hate shines as a technical craftwork. The films palette is green, yellow, dark blue, and black shot in what looks like natural lighting. I’m becoming a fan of the work of cinematographer Benji Bakshi. His work on Some Kind of Hate and this year’s standout western picture Bone Tomahawk hint at Bakshi becoming a go to for classically styled camerawork. As an auditory viewer myself, I really appreciated the sound design of Some Kind of Hate. The camp’s setting feels immersive. The sounds of the terrain and the nighttime chirping of crickets eases the viewer into a sort of hypnotic state and opens the senses to what’s coming next. The setting feels as remote and as dangerous as Friday the 13th’s Camp Crystal Lake.
Some Kind of Hate is a fresh take on an often retreaded ghost story. The performances are good and the visual effects and technical work are solid. The film would have benefited from some dialogue workshopping and a little more “showing-not-telling” filmmaking. The cinematography is top shelf and cast are all very watchable. Simply put, its an above average ghost story.
DVD AND BLU-RAY RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2015
DIRECTOR: Adam Egypt Mortimer
WRITER: Adam Egypt Mortimer and Brian DeLeeuw
CAST: Ronen Rubinstein, Grace Phipps, Sierra McCormick, Spencer Breslin, Michael Polish
SYNOPSIS: Relentless bullying has turned Lincoln’s life into a nightmare. But he soon learns the true meaning of terror when he is sent to a remote school for troubled teens and the harassment starts all over again. Only this time, someone is watching – a teenage girl named Moira who was driven to suicide by vicious bullying years ago. When Lincoln accidentally summons Moira from the grave, he unleashes a vengeful and unstoppable force on a mission of blood-soaked revenge. Hell on earth has a new meaning in this gruesome shocker “guaranteed to please any and every type of horror fan” (Fangoria)
GENRE: Horror, Thriller, Troubled Youth, Teenagers, Teen Terror, Teen, Ghosts.
DISTRIBUTOR: RLJ Entertainment