[Hate Crime]
Synopsis:A jewish family, just arrived in a new neighborhood, are recording their youngest son's birthday celebrations on video when their home is suddenly invaded by a bunch of crystal-meth-crazed neo-nazi lunatics.

Cast:Jody Barton, Nicholas Clark, Greg Depetro, Debbie Diesel, Tim Moran, Ian Roberts, Sloane Morgan Siegel, Maggie Wagner.

My Thoughts:A Gritty and Chilling suburban nightmare.

Review:Filmmaker James Cullen Bressack first burst onto the scene with his indie slasher pic "My Pure Joy". A pretty shocking film for a freshman effort. But not as shocking as his latest, "Hate Crime". A movie which is not exactly or pure, or even straight-forward horror. But instead it's more pycho-thriller. In the vein of films such as "The Last House On The Left", and "I Spit On Your Grave". Although not as gruesome, it does invoke the scenario of evil and beyond-psychotic intruders, just showing up and wreaking sufferaging havoc on an unsuspecting family. A family who weren't prepared nor expecting the quote unquote...visit. In this films case, the unsuspecting family are a Jewish family, who just moved into a small town community recently. One night, during a birthday celebration for one of the kids, three masked neo-nazi skinheads crash the party, in a meth-fileld rage. And decide to victimize the family. A word which is not taken lightly in this movie.

As a viewer of this movie, it really tugs at various emotions as you watch. Shock, anger, and surprise. The early parts of the film really shock you at how gruesome and unapologetic they are. This then makes you feel anger at what the villains, are doing to the films victims. The surprise part comes when you see how far they go with this lunacy. But the surprise also comes when you realize that they don't have a political or social agenda. These days, when you look at the world, and why people are doing the crazy and violent things they're doing. There's usually always a motive. Whether politically driven or socially driven. Or religiously driven, or all three. Or sometimes two of the three. Or at least one of the three. But these guys are driven by pure hatred, as well as being hopped up on drugs. Which pretty much is not far from the reality-based picture of most neo-nazi's or people involved in that movement. But it also covers the phrase Hate Crime in general, in a broader scope. As it basically points out that at any moment in time, someone driven by one of the most negative emotions of the human psyche, can burst onto the scene...and inflict their ideals on you.

In this films case, the perps are cowards though. As this family doesn't look like a rough and tumble family. These are your normal, suburban family types. So they're quite easy prey for the movies bad guys. As they have no real way of defending themselves, or thwarting the attack when it happens. Even though you spend most of the movie hoping that some member of the family has a firearm hidden around the house somewhere, and can get to it. I guess it's possibly fate that I saw this film for the first time post the horrible events that took place in Connecticut recently. If there were to be a case made for why too much gun control is not good, perhaps this film makes it? When something like this occurs, the events of which "Hate Crime" plays out...you can really see why some people think it is essential that there's atleast one registered gun in the home to take out scum like this when they come a'callin'.

And as for our evil neo-nazi bad guys, they have guns of course. And use them readily to impose their will upon their victims. Which would even strengthen the case against too much gun control. Of course, having rapid-fire guns is one thing, but when you see a movie like this. And compare it to many real-life, incidents where not even doped-up-racists, but just some serial killer or gang member breaks into a home looking for cash, valuables, or just their next victims. You'd definitely be the one wishing that you had made a decision to purchase at least a single firearm for the protection of your family. And in the case of this movies characters, yes...they are a family. So it makes sense. They're not some hermit living in the woods who thinks the government is coming to take away their guns. And that in itself is a case for who, should be allowed to own guns of a high caliber and who shoudn't. A normal American family, versus some apocalypse-fearing wacko in the sticks.

But this short film from James Cullen Bressack really psychologically forces you to process how damaging and evil some people can be. And creates not only a trio of ultra disturbing bad guys, but also a group of sadly helpless victims. And I guess that's where this movie veers off from the classics I mentioned at the start of the Review. When watching films of this nature, where a single person or group of people just come at... some normal folks just minding their own business, you know deep down. Eventually, the folks, will take their pound of flesh, as it were. And will gain the upper-hand against their attackers and or captors. And that's when the audience will revel in seeing those who spread suffering suffer themselves. But what makes "Hate Crime" so dark and disturbing, is that you don't see that outcome being sewn as the movie goes about its processes.
You have a glimmer of hope at the start of the movie. But quickly as it unfolds, that glimmer quickly fades into a small cloud of smoke. And then as you watch, you are forced to come to the realization that these people are truly, at the mercy of their attackers. There's no gun hidden in the vent or in the basement. There's no hero that's going to sneak into the house and crack some skulls. There's no missing family member who might arrive just in time to stop the madness and bloodshed. Nor is there a grizzled local cop who is going to appear just in the nick of time and gun down the neo-nazi loons. And if that doesn't occur, you atleast hope for a return to "A Time To Kill". Where when it's all said and done, the father will set out to seek bloody revenge. But alas, nope.

You really are made by the filmmakers to feel...that for most if not all of these people. THE END IS NEAR. And it's coming, and there's nothing they can do about it. And to make matters worse, you are also made to feel and hope...that the villains, as evil and psychotic as they are. Will make their demises a quick and painless one. Of course, that doesn't turn out to be the case. So you really see a pure, tragedy unfold right before your very eyes. A tragedy where when examining all of the hypotheticals involved. Could these people even return to a normal life if say, their attackers were to just die of a drug overdose from the crystal meth right there in their living rooms? With the horrors inflicted upon these poor people, could they ever psychologically recover from such an event? And within this film, we also examine the big lie of society itself. Or perhaps are made to examine by the filmmaker.

Which is security. There really isn't ever a truly safe place in this world. And even a suburban family can become the victims of a terrible crime if they move to the wrong suburb. Or are spotted by the wrong people or the wrong person. All it takes really is a few like-minded people or one unbalanced person, to ruin the lives of many. This film takes the suburban nightmare to a whole nother level. And it doesn't try to do so with class, grace, or even high suspense. The film gets down in the proverbial muck. It's gritty, nasty, and in-your-face. It's human terror at its worst. And real-life fear at its most primal. And the largest most noticeable twist to it all is, the movies protagonists are taken off guard and by surprise prior to the horrific events unfolding. Which makes you wonder, about the what-ifs? What if, they had encountered these people face to face? Would events have unfolded differently? What if...the family had a weapon at their disposal? Would the number of casualties have changed? Atleast a little? Just like in any real life tragedy, there are many things you ponder after the film is over.

Performance wise, I sided with the performances of the films protagonists. I thought they really acted well enough to make the viewer feel as if they were truly being terrorized and scared for their lives. The villains weren't too shabby either, but as a viewer...I always take the approach that it takes a lot more energy and chops to play a victim in a film along the lines of "Hate Crime". Instead of playing the victimizer. Not being discriminatory or anything, but that's just how I look at things when it comes to indie movies where a nut or pack of nuts unleashes pure hell upon some unsuspecting person or persons. Keep in mind also that this movie operates on many different levels of disturbing the audience. If there is such a thing. This movie doesn't freak out the viewer once or twice, and then pulls back. It actually goes up, up, and away on its levels of making the viewers stomach turn. And if that isn't enough, it then builds new layers and comes up with new ways to do it all over again! "Hate Crime" is not a usual horror movie so going in, viewers shouldn't be expecting the usual fare. It's more of a core movie. Its goal, its process, its reason-for-existing...is to disturb and shock you to your very core. And it does just that and then-some!

OVERALL:"Hate Crime" is not a movie for the squeamish, easily offended, or cinematically fragile. Will it start a conversation about hate in general? Possibly. But I think the more important conversation it should start, is the one about society's dregs and furthermore fanatics. And how one must be prepared to confront them whenever they rear their ugly heads close to home. IF...one can ever be truly prepared, ALL the time for such a thing.

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