Popcorn Frights Film Festival unveiled a host of horror movies on South Florida this past weekend. Monkeys Fighting Robots was there to cover some of the 40 features and short films that featured in the festival. In some cases, these movies are making their North American premiere. One such premiere is The Hatred, a film from Malek Akkad, the producer of the Halloween franchise. The Hatred is about a home cursed by a Nazi treasure and though it’s plagued by a few inconsistencies is still a fun popcorn flick.
Well, it’s unthinkable for regular people, not so much for Nazi.
The Hatred begins with a prologue that introduces viewers to Samuel Sears (Andrew Divoff), his wife, and daughter Alice. The trio lives on a farm where Mrs. Sears home-schools their daughter and other kids. Alice wants to see more of the outside world but father Samuel is not having any of it. Soon after it’s revealed that Sears is a former high-ranking member of the Nazi regime and he’s holding an artifact left to him by the Furor himself. The object, a palm-sized iron cross, amplifies hate. Hitler’s asked Sears to bury it away. Sears does as told, but in an argument with his daughter, the iron cross’ power takes hold, and Sears does the unthinkable. Well, it’s unthinkable for regular people, not so much for Nazi. Soon after, Mrs. Sears learns about the gruesome act and commits one herself then leaves the farm for good.
The film picks up on the house in the present day as four college girls head to the renovated (yet cursed) location. Reagan, played with optimistic, final girl bravado by Sarah Davenport, is watching the home on behalf of her professor. Reagan is an old friend of the family and is also babysitting young Irene (Shae Smolik). Along for the ride are Regan’s friends, Layan (Gabrielle Bourne), Betaine (Alisha Wainwright), and Samantha (Bayley Corman).
The Hatred offers some pure fun.
After the girls arrive and settle into the home, the spirit of Alice and the power of the cross begin to mess with them. One by one the girls are tormented until death. Along the way, Samantha discovers some of the Nazi documents and gives the girls a little insight into what is killing them.
Between jump scares and tense build-ups and releases, one sequence stands out above the rest. Without spoiling it, the moment comes near the end, and it subverts the familiar horror tropes several times before delivering a truly genuine scare.
The Hatred offers some pure fun. However, it does lack a truly solid narrative punch. The characters, aside from Divoff’s stoic Nazi, aren’t very intriguing either. They’re fodder for the story. So, don’t go into The Hatred thinking you’re getting a slasher gorefest because it’s not that and it’s not The Exorcist or a tour de force of psychological terror like Session 9. The Hatred is popcorn horror that keeps the scare-party going.