Netflix Roulette – Some Kind of Hate

It looks like my luck didn’t continue today… though, it also wasn’t like a complete disaster. After Visions I’ll take it. In the end, though, a single interesting element in an otherwise completely unremarkable ghost movie, isn’t enough to save this film.

Some Kind of Hate doesn’t do a lot wrong, but it doesn’t do much right either… it is a completely benign movie with one interesting element. Before we get there though, let me give you the basics of the movie. The movie begins by quickly establishing that our protagonist, a high school student/death-metal enthusiast, is being bullied in nearly every aspect of his life. After finally fighting back (with a fork, which is not recommended) he ends up in a wilderness camp for delinquents. Not surprisingly the bullying continues (though, now with a new cast of characters). The bullying and his desperation awakens a spirit that decides to help him with this bullies… mayhem ensues. Based on that description you are probably thinking that this is a classic ghost movie… in reality, it is more of a mystery film than a straight-up ghost movie. This is partially due to the pacing of the movie as well as the treatment of the “ghost” (more on this shortly).

I think it is best to start with what doesn’t work in this movie and then end with what does, since my discussion of the paranormal element bridges the gap between these two perspectives. As I mentioned above, this is a completely inoffensive movie so don’t expect me to tear it apart in the following section. That being said, there are some issues with the film. First, the filmmakers seem to have a passing understanding (at best) of the subcultures they are trying to portray in the movie. As I mentioned, the protagonist is a death-metal enthusiast… apart from wearing all black and listening to music with screeching guitars, he’s presented more as a boy-next-door type. Similarly, his main love interest is revealed to be a “cutter” (by the way, if cutting is a trigger for you stick away from this movie… it plays a huge role in the majority of the movie) and everything she says seems to come from an after school special. Finally, the computer hacker is the best dressed and most charismatic nerd I’ve ever seen (myself included). These portrayals were off for me… however, I want to acknowledge that the filmmakers put themselves into a bit of a Catch-22, since if they had presented the characters as viewers expected, they risked being accused of stereotyping at a shallow level. So, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to a choice… but, it’s still a weird choice. Worse than this, though, is that regardless of how the characters were presented, I didn’t care about any of them. It’s not even that I felt they were unlikable… they were just unremarkable and quite boring. Add to this the fact that very little character moments were present in the film and many of the supporting characters would disappear for large stretches of the movie, I ended up not connecting within anyone or anything. Finally, as I alluded to earlier, this film felt more like a mystery (and not a very complex or interesting one) than a horror movie… honestly, at times it felt like a super bloody episode of Scooby Doo. The filmmakers just didn’t seem to have an understanding of the type of movie they wanted to make. When it did drift into the horror realm, it presented itself like a lesser mainstream horror movie from the 90s (your I Know What You Did Last Summer-s, The Faculty-s, Urban Legends-s, etc.) and (speaking as someone who came up during this era) that is bad, bad thing.

I want to conclude my write-up by speaking to the supernatural element of the film. Some of you may consider what I write next as a minor spoiler. However, I would argue that it isn’t, for two reasons. First, the spirit is present fairly early in the film and is front-and-center (more on this shortly) for the remainder. Second, the “rules” surrounding the spirit are unclear (mostly because they’re untraditional), so, I think going into the film with an understanding of the “rules” might make it more enjoyable (by the way, do not take that last sentence as a suggestion that you should watch this movie). In most ghost movies, the spirit is presented more as a force of nature, rarely seen, popping in and out unexpectedly, and wreaking havoc. That is not the case in Some Kind of Hate. The spirit is presented more as another character in the movie. After she materializes, she is just there. She doesn’t materialize or dematerialize (except for a few scenes that seem to break the “rules”) out of nowhere. This means that there is little in the way of jump scares (though, there are a couple of weird scenes where the protagonist jumps and screams while the ghost has been on screen for the viewers for several scenes). We just see the spirit walking in and out of scenes and hiding, like a regular person. The filmmakers double-down on this when they allow the other characters (especially the protagonist) to have full-on conversations with the spirit. I chose the word conversation very deliberately. I’m not talking about a few sentences or bleated out questions. No, these are coherent and in-depth conversation. In fact, there is a scene where the spirit monologues like a Bond-villain. I found this a very odd choice and frankly extremely distracting. However, maybe this connects back to my discussion regarding the filmmaker’s treatment of subcultures. Maybe they were doing the same thing here… avoiding the typical “stereotypes” surrounding ghosts in modern, American horror movies… or, maybe, I’m giving the filmmakers too much credit. What I did find effective is the spirit’s power. She is a corporal being (again, odd for a spirit), but she is basically a living voodoo doll… this was interesting and different, though ultimately wasted.

So, while there were interesting elements to this film, I have to say it generally missed the mark.

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