Four college coeds and a young girl must survive the night in a farmhouse haunted by an ex-NAZI and his daughter in The Hatred (2017), written and directed by Michael G. Kehoe. The horror genre has long attracted up-and-coming filmmakers willing to take risks on shoestring budgets. This sometimes leads to cinematic masterpieces but often amounts to trash fit for the landfill. This film belongs solidly in the latter category.
As The Hatred opens, Samuel Sears (Andrew Divoff), his school teacher wife, Miriam (Nina Siemaszko), and daughter, Alice (Darby Walker) are living on an isolated farm. Samuel was a high ranking NAZI who changed his name and fled to the U.S. after the Second World War. He receives a medieval relic in the mail, drowns his daughter for rebelling against him, and then dies for some reason while his wife passively looks on.
Forty years later, recent college graduate Regan (Sarah Davenport) and her vapid sorority friends, Layan (Gabrielle Bourne), Samantha (Bayley Corman), and Betaine (Alisha Wainwright) drive out to her professor’s new country home, where she will babysit his daughter, Irene (Shae Smolik). As strange things begin to happen, will they unravel the mystery of Alice’s death and escape alive?
The Hatred is possibly the worst movie I’ve ever seen. I struggled to find a single redeeming quality. Normally, with low budget pictures, it’s unintentionally funny, or there’s memorable dialogue, or a clever concept, or just some good old fashioned T&A. The Hatred had none of those things.
Most of this film is spent waiting for payoffs that never arrive, and what appear to be key elements or plot points vanish as quickly as Regan’s concern for her friends, who get picked off one by one in uninteresting ways (at least, I assume they did… some just seem to disappear).
Regan’s hospital-bound grandmother (Nancy Linehan Charles), credited as simply “grandmother”, is one example. She appears to have a strong relationship with her granddaughter, and at one point seems to know she’s in danger and tries to psychically warn her. I thought she was connected to the story somehow, like it would turn out that she had been Samuel’s wife. But she just disappears after a handful of scenes. Why is she in the movie at all? Her character has no bearing on the plot.
Likewise, Samuel plods around in an old gas mask, probably because it looks scary, and looms menacingly, as does his NAZI past. His stern and intimidating character, and his gift from Der Fuhrer, drives the story. Despite building him up as the main antagonist, however, Alice inexplicably fills that role while Samuel fades into the background.
Someone reportedly spent $800,000 on this piece of garbage. Most of that must have been absorbed by the camera and effects crews because the film quality is deceptively professional. Unfortunately, The Hatred amounts to nothing more than a YouTube jumpscare short with a budget. The dialogue is awful, the plot cheap, and the acting atrocious. The NAZIs may be history’s villains but at least Leni Riefenstahl knew how to make a compelling film.