Review: Hate Crime
by, 08-07-2012 at 10:27 AM (660 Views)
I am old enough to remember when Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel reviewed Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave. Both were repulsed by the film and its depiction of rape and murder. Film critic Rogers Ebert was especially hard on the film calling it “a vile bag of garbage…without a shred of artistic distinction” and that “attending it was one of the most depressing experiences of my life.”
I wonder what Siskel and Ebert would think of the state of some of the films being produced today. Films such as A Serbian Film, Gortesque and the Human Centipede push audiences down emotional paths that intersect with scenes of extreme violence and human degradation. No topic, no scene, no act of violence depicted on screen is off-limits in today’s YouTube generation. Filmmakers routinely set out to physically repulse and shock audiences into a viewing submission hold. Where having your film banned in other countries would likely destroy a films opportunity to make a profit, today, films wear this classification as a badge of honor.
The most recent film to catch our attention in the mold of “shock-horror” is Hate Crime. Hate Crime is directed by James Cullen Bressack (The Music-Box Killer) and surrounds a family being held hostage in their home by a group of three sadistic intruders.
The film is an adrenaline rush of cruelty. It is an unabashed and relentless hour of despicable and unprovoked terror unleashed upon the innocent family celebrating a birthday. Throughout the family’s evening of terror audiences will be challenged to stay focused on the degrading and aggressive acts perpetrated by the intruders. From an early surprising act of brutality through the closing screen credits, Bressack keeps pushing his audience towards breaking points – or to at very least moments of the film’s pausing so that one can catch one’s breath – that will make even the most hardened of hearts uncomfortably numb.
Hate Crime is shot as a ‘found footage’ film, but what separates Hate Crime from most of its peers is that the shooting style is essential to the film’s narrative. It actually makes sense that a camera was used in the format to which it was employed as opposed to films such as The Blair Witch Project or Cloverfield where characters would have been best served to put the camera down and focus on their own survival.
Director James Cullen Bressack has requested that we keep the information such as character motivation or the fate of any of the characters outside of any review so that the film can shock and awe when released upon the Festival crowds. And that is more that ‘okay’ with us. The film was hard to screen in private and would be harder to recollect and detail some of the film’s developments.
Rating Hate Crime is a tad more difficult. We didn’t necessarily see it as a movie. We saw it as a piece of piece of maniacal filmmaking. It was relatively well shot (the cuts in the film were strategically placed) and there is no denying that the eight central characters that make up Hate Crime are definitely giving it their all leaving nothing on the emotional or physical table.
Hate Crime will not be one of those films that you would recommend to a friend. It is the type of film that is discussed through whispers amongst only the closest of friends around the office water cooler. Acceptance of this subject matter so blatantly exposed on film could raise eyebrows, destroy friendships and question personal motives or viewing preferences. Although, that suggests that you make it to the end of the film.