All My Friends Hate Me (2022) Brings Horror to Everyday Social Interactions
Title: All My Friends Hate Me
First Non-Festival Release: March 11, 2022 (Theatrical Release)
Director: Andrew Gaynord
Writer: Tom Palmer, Tom Stourton
Runtime: 93 Minutes
Starring: Tom Stourton, Dustin Demri-Burns, Charly Clive
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
After five years of separation, Pete (Tom Stourton) is reunited with his friends from uni: Fig (Georgina Campbell), George (Joshua McGuire), Claire (Antonia Clarke), and Archie (Graham Dickson) in honor of his birthday. The celebration is at George’s countryside manor, so Pete drives up alone with the understanding his girlfriend and his soon-to-be fiancé Sonia (Charly Clive) will join them later. When Pete arrives, however, things are strange as the crew has latched on to a stranger they met at the bar named Harry (Dustin Demri-Burns) who gives the impression that Pete is not welcome. That fear takes hold in Pete and is projected onto all of his friends.
Paranoid comedy horror All My Friends Hate Me capitalizes on fears of inadequacy in rocky friendships.
Dark comedies are tricky to get right, and All My Friends Hate Me is no exception to this rule. The film begins with Pete preparing to meet his friends for his birthday party only to be greeted to an empty mansion. It’s not until his friends spill in hours later with a stranger is it evident that Pete is dealing with a group of people who clearly don’t care about him as much as he cares for them. Or do they? This anxiety is ever-present throughout the film enmeshed with a distinct blend of sarcasm, dark humor, and situational comedy.
All My Friends Hate Me will work for audiences depending on how well they take to the subject matter and pacing. Do my friends even like me? That is a question relatable to many people, especially those that suffer from social anxiety or self-confidence issues. It’s clear that those issues did not ail Pete before he went on his mission trip, but they are apparent now that he has returned. Due to this, many interactions are uncomfortable to the highest degree as off-handed comments are dissected for malice or passive aggression and actions are read into more vividly. The pacing accelerates this feeling of unease as it moves torturously slow throughout the feature, mimicking the pained interactions of reality.
Pete is quite the interesting character. As the events onscreen happen largely because of him, his journey through the birthday weekend is terrifyingly real. Reading into every interaction, Pete drives himself crazy during what should be a time of celebration. His inability to let little things go, however annoying they may be in the moment, makes it impossible to enjoy something that is good. His distrust of his friends frays from the moment they disappoint him despite him not thinking of more ways to make the most of his situation.
In the end, he is the source of his own horror and every bad thing that happens is his own doing. It’s a poetic downfall of a man who values perception so much that he changed his career path to satisfy some need to prove he is not 'a posh asshole'. He sees nothing wrong with casting judgment on his peers yet feels the need to distance himself. As a character, Pete is equal parts fascinating and frustrating in his refusal to steer his own life.
More of a mindbender than all out horror/comedy, or much of either separately either, All My Friends Hate Me is an interesting descent into the relatable fear that no one likes you. A strong performance in Tom Stourton steals the show and keeps the film grounded as it gets increasingly twisty in its absurdist plot. While it is filled to the brim with unique ideas about friendship, social niceties, and the general fakeness that can be found in upper crust circles, All My Friends Hate Me is too cerebral to latch on to and makes for a circuitous watch. Fans of dark comedies and humor that leans into secondhand embarrassment will rejoice, otherwise this might be one social interaction to skip.
Overall Score? 5.5/10