Hatred (2006)

DVD Cover (Fleet Street Films)
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Overall Rating 75%
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Ranked #13,346
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Connections: Aftermath

One year has passed. Anthony continues to relive his nightmarish experience. But while attending a weekend birthday party for a close friend, Anthony faces an unexpected revelation. Though he struggles to come to terms with the guilt he feels and is unable to forgive himself, he finally accepts responsibility for his own selfish actions. But it might be too late. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: May 16, 2007
For those of you with great short term memory, you'll recall that I reviewed a film on this site last week called "Unstable", from Delaware filmmaker Anthony Spadaccini. I also reviewed a couple other of his films, but "Unstable" was the only that most connected with me. "Hatred" is the sequel to that film. First off, I need to say that "Unstable" was not the kind of film that warrants a sequel. Some resolutions are better left ambiguous. But, I will give the director credit for wanting to take the story to the next level and continue things down the dark path that was started in the first film. "Unstable" and "Hatred" are companion pieces, but you can't help but think that maybe both could be trimmed down and then assembled together into one 2-hour long motion picture.

This sequel picks up a year after the tragic events of the first film, when Jim (James Schaeffer) killed Bobby (Bobby Hamilton) and then killed himself. We find Anthony (Anthony Spadaccini) still unable to get over those terrible events and trying to find meaning in his own life. He has no job, flunked out of film school and doesn't like hanging out with friends anymore because it's too painful. However, he is coaxed into attending a birthday party for his friend Jeff (Jeff Watson). And, so he does. Steve Brown returns as Steve, who was the great mediator in the first film. In the sequel, he's more mellow and more like the 'Great Wise One'. Benjamin P. Ablao, Jr. stars as Ben, Anthony's roommate who also happens to be a psychiatrist. And, Jeff Johnston co-stars as Jeff Number Two, who doesn't want to be a Customer Service Agent the rest of his life.

Towards the middle of the film, we learn that two of Anthony's friends -- Paul (Paul McCloskey) and Garrett (Garrett McKenna) -- are missing in action. Frequent cuts to them reveal that they're pretending to be broken down on the side of the road as the plot revenge against Anthony for what they consider to be negligence on his part for allowing both Bobby and Jim to die. You see -- Garrett is Bobby's brother. I won't give anything else away, but I will say that their plan is to take Anthony out into a field, scare him with a gun and make him confess to his wrong doing in the whole thing. We cut back and forth from the guys in the car to Jeff's apartment, where Anthony is trying his best to enjoy the party, though all he can reflect on is his role in the camping incident.

In terms of style, "Hatred" is a fine follow-up to "Unstable". The hand held approach once again works, though it still has the same shortcomings as the first film. You eventually feel like characters are having to give far too much exposition just so audiences know what is going on and who is who. Most people don't talk like that in real life -- they just shut up and shoot. However, Spadaccini has a rare ability to get some very real and very intriguing moments out of people. My favorite is Steve Brown. Sometimes, he says the most randomly humorous things, but then can turn on a dime with a gesture or a smirk. He knows how to play real even when he's acting. Spadaccini, who is once again the star of the film, has a painfully long sequence where he's talking into the camera, basically repeating the same thing over and over again. It doesn't work. I almost got up and turned the television off because I was so tired of hearing him repeat everything that way.

You just can't have two hours of nothing happening. At the very least, you cannot have two hours of the plot unfolding at a snail's pace. The ending only barely works. Are we supposed to believe that Garrett and Paul are stupid enough to blame Anthony for everything that happened? The more and more they attempt to justify what they're doing, the more and more they should be talking themselves out of it. And Anthony blames himself, why? He gives us reasons, but any logical person should know they were not responsible. For me, the ending was just negative and down and not realistic in the slightest. That hurt the film for me. It also doesn't help that I could barely stand to listen to the character of Paul. I'm not saying it was bad acting, but there was definitely something 'baddish' about the performance that I couldn't stomach too long.

On the whole, "Hatred" is a nice companion piece to "Unstable", but was it necessary? I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the original, but did appreciate a lot of things about it. Once again, I think Steve Brown is a real find and does a fantastic job reprising his role with minimal nuanced changes. Anthony Spadaccini's performance would have been better had that long confession to the camera but cut in half, or cut out entirely. I also thought the ending was inappropriate for the film, and not realistic. But, I still admire the camerawork, a lot of the other performances and the overall storyline, if it were just tweaked a little. Like the first film, there are minor things that could be changed to make this a far better film. "Hatred" will probably appeal to the same people who enjoyed "Unstable", but on a different level -- and with different emphasis. I give this film 6/10, one lower than the original, which is still a positive review. I do recommend it, just very carefully.
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