REVIEW: HATE CRIME (2012, TetroVideo)

Hate Crime is a found footage shocker made by James Cullen Bressack back in 2012. Long out of print and still dividing opinion among the underground extreme horror community, the film is returning with a shiny new release by TetroVideo.

A close-knit Jewish family are celebrating their youngest sons birthday at their home when they they receive an unexpected and frightening visit from a group of masked neo-nazi scumbags off their face on crystal meth. The family endure horrific torment, humiliation and torture by the men who are intent on going as far as they possibly can to inflict pain and suffering on their victims.

The film gives no warning and gives viewers no opportunity to settle in or process what is going on before it starts firing shots. Within a mere 4 minutes we go from watching family happiness to unimaginable heartbreak. It is savage, there is nothing that can prepare you for what you are about to witness but it isn’t meant to be a fun watch. It is very likely that the opening 10 minutes of the film will mentally scar most viewers and leave an irreversible sense of dread in their thoughts for many days and nights ; be ready for it.

For a found footage film, Hate Crime is hyper realistic. It looks and sounds incredibly real and it is extremely disturbing because of it. Found footage films are a hit and miss genre but this one really gets the basics right and is really impressive in most departments. The acting is tremendous across its small cast, the performances of both the victims and the perpetrators are tremendous. You really feel for the victims, and really quickly build up hate towards those hurting them. The cinematography is right on the money too, it is shot like a one-take with barely any noticeable breaks as it runs seamlessly with the actors going through the motions.

Nothing ever feels forced plot-wise, it sets up some very hard to watch scenes but it never exploits the situation more than it needs to. In fact, clever use of angles and cut-aways makes us think the worst in our heads when things are done fairly tastefully on screen. There is no nudity, and the practical effects used are mostly pulled into shot using a whip pan technique. From a technical aspect, this isn’t a high school project, clearly the filmmakers knew what they were doing.

The film pushes a lot of buttons and tests a lot of boundaries. It highlights the dangers of racism and hatred and is still relevant to the world we live in today. The film makes a statement in the most violent way possible, it reminds us that hatred drives bad people to do unforgivable crimes against humanity. The films title is a perfect fit and while it will never be used for educational purposes, it is an eye opener for those who think they have seen it all.

This is a movie, it isn’t real but this type of stuff does happen in real life and it is disturbing because of that. Very early on there is a line where one of the evil men reminds the family “it’s not going to be ok”, and that stayed with me for the whole movie. I think my only small gripe with the film is it felt too one sided at times and the victims didn’t really have much opportunity to change the course of the film, they seemed doomed from the start but maybe that was the intention. Some of the torture scenes went on too long at times and this drained a lot of the 71 minutes run time but the realism was on-point and it didn’t exploit the situations for cheap frights.

Hate Crime is wrong on so many levels in terms of its content but the finesse of the filmmaking should be admired. The film hit me harder than most and left me in deep thought about how evil the world we live in really is; it served its purpose well. Hate Crime is a true hammer blow to the skull.

Score: 4/5

Hate Crime is available to pre-order from TetroVideo on 2nd November 2021.