Bullying has been an absolute virus, steadily grown throughout our nation’s schools within the last decade. Whether it be over the way a kid looks, the type of music he listens to, or hell, just because he exists, the fact is that it’s grown to astronomical proportions, and it’s only a matter of time before those kids strike back. When that does happen, we end up with tragedies such as the ones we’ve had to shockingly endure, like Columbine. The pain, rage and embarrassment of being a bullied teenager has very rarely been addressed in cinema, and when it has, even THAT was neutered (the “pg-13” cuts of the documentary BULLY) . With all of that said, it was only a matter of time before a film, genre or not, would be made, one that takes a brutally honest look at the idea of being bullied, fighting back, and even dealing with one’s own internal pain, and that film is SOME KIND OF HATE. Thanks to writer/director Adam Egypt Mortimer (HOLIDAYS), we’re given a film that transcends the genre, becoming a powerful statement of a film that will not only shock you, but will simply blow you away.
Following the continual bullying from the alpha male, cavemen type student peers, SOME KIND OF HATE‘s protagonist Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein, IT FELT LIKE LOVE, Orange is the New Black)lashes out in anger, an act that gets HIM punished, and like so many misunderstood and emotionally bottled up teenagers, the act of standing up for himself sends him to a camp-like reform school. Like so many teenagers these days, Lincoln isn’t a bad kid, just one that has been messed with to the point of forcing him to unleash the anger and hatred that any outsider who has at one time been the emotional or physical punching bag for those who were popular and trying to prove a point could relate to. We’re already sympathetic towards Lincoln, so when he’s sent to the facility, and is instantly targeted by a group of thugs led by Willie (DARK SUMMER‘s Maestro Harrell), you feel for him, as he tries his hardest to keep his rage and anger to himself. Just based on the first quarter of the film, SOME KIND OF HATE is already a film that will be immediately emotionally resonant with viewers who have been through any form of being put down or picked on, it’s a film that feels very real in its portrayal of the struggle to stay on the right track, in spite of people attempting to bring out the worst in you. Lincoln is befriended by two of the only halfway decent teens (THE HAPPENING‘s Spencer Breslin andDARK SUMMER‘s Grace Phipps) and all seems halfway right, with the facility’s staff (including impressive supporting roles from Michael Polish and Noah Segan) doing their best to help the kids.
Where the film takes a turn into an unexpected (yet completely entertaining) territory, is when the spirit of a young girl begins to appear anytime someone attempts to mess with Lincoln, and whenever the spirit cuts herself, the wounds are inflicted physically onto the attackers. It’s a good angle to the story, a manifestation of the pain and suffering that Lincoln is holding back, in the form of Moira, the spirit of a girl who was also the victim of bullying. It’s a film full of putting not only bullying under the microscope, but also the rage and pain that victims of said bullying are forced to go through. Though some would label SOME KIND OF HATE a slasher film, it’s more of a character-driven look at how anger and hatred can consume someone and it comes in the form of a violent and thought-provoking tale, told in a style that is fresh and exciting by Mortimer, whose storytelling abilities are in full effect.
It’s hard to remember the last film that really nailed the angst and alienation of those who are picked on as well as this one does, and it does it so very well. A film full of violence and anger, of rage and revenge, SOME KIND OF HATE is as bloody as it is thought-provoking and is a film that will stand the test of time as an honest and brutal portrayal of the horror of being a teenager.