This Relativity Media’s low budget horror film has been in the can for quite some time. No really for the longest time. But this weekend (September 21-23) seemed like the perfect time to release it. Yes, this film was cheap to make (Under $10 Million). Does it look that way? Of course not. This film is being promoted by the studio solely because of Jennifer Lawrence. Her successes with Winter’s Bone, X-Men: First Class and The Hunger Games have most likely made Relativity executives scramble to market this film. And they had this film before she shot The Hunger Games and X-Men: First Class. Talk about delays! With Jennifer Lawrence it is hard to see her do wrong. And she has yet to screw up in my eyes (If you can reference something then prove it). She is even looking ahead at another Oscar nomination (This would be her 2nd) for this year’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” Thankfully (although I do enjoy this VERY weird horror film) will not be seen by Academy. Yes, horror movies usually don’t impress me. And normally, horror movies do not impress the masses either. But this film proves otherwise. Because many had pegged this as the stinker of the year. Well it is far away from that title.
The story itself is mindlessly rubbish. And at times it feels like the movie is dragging on just a smidge. BUT, Jennifer Lawrence shows that she can be another fragile yet strong woman. She has yet to have a bad performance yet. She carries the film completely. And if any other young actress tried to carry this film, it’d be a failed attempt. The rest of the cast is quite uninspired. Max Thieriot has been in the business for awhile. But has yet to find that big break that he desires. And this film does not help him at all. Elisabeth Shue, has been on the down and outs for years. But she had a really strong part in Piranha 3D. Yeah, she failed to deliver this time. Yet it is not completely her fault. And there was only one subplot. My prayers were answered. Yes this subplot between the mom and a police officer was god awful. Though, in other movies there would be more subplots. But at least this film understood when to say no to overcrowding plot points.
The plot of the film is simply this, Elissa and her mom move to a new house after her parents divorce. Then she meets a neighbor whose parents were killed supposedly by his sister. Legend has it that the sister is still alive. And then “Ryan” and Elissa start to romantically see each other. There is a twist to this film. And you have to see it to get it. It may be a little confusing but it should connect fairly quickly. Normally, I would say this film is rubbish but i’ll talk about it that later. As the film goes on, you see subtle hints that throughout the film the story is off in a way. And clearly the plot I have given you, really has very little to do with promotional materials that have been released. I also like the title just to put it out there. Plus it has a cool acronym (HATES).
The way this film is shot is actually well done. For a film of this genre, it actually looked great. And another surprise, Jennifer Lawrence is perfectly framed in EVERY shot that she is in. Of course, this movie has some stereotypical moments. That really seemed to bug the audience at my theater. The film is going to be successful, and that is due to Jennifer Lawrence’s smash successes. One part that seemed to have the audience going was when Jennifer Lawrence had to use a gun. And the audiences jokes throughout the film were amusing to my ears. For example- “You can shoot an arrow but you can’t shoot a gun!” That of course was a Hunger Games reference.
That is what made this film so watchable. And yes, it is so idiotic in the script but it is a fun ride. And that alone makes the viewer continue to watch. Easily another director or Actress could have made this film a mess. But the two really show how low budget should be. And this year was a strong year for cheap films with original story lines. No, this film is not related to being original, only in the sense that is cheaper than normal the horror affairs that are released year after year.
This film was made to be an interactive film. It takes the viewers on a comical ride. This film makes the audience smile and want to see it again. And yes, this film is not the best. In my eyes however, it thrives in the notion that it was made for teens. And teenagers (most) enjoy the lack of brains from the characters. These teenagers like to yell or say stuff to the screen. This film, in no doubt lets them respond. Overall, this will be a film that I will likely buy on DVD when it is released next year.
My final rating 8/10