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  • Writer's pictureMaxwell J.

Deep Hatred (2022) May Be a Strong Descriptor, but It Isn’t Entirely Off Base

Title: Deep Hatred

First Non-Festival Release: March 22, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)

Director: Daniela Carvalho, Ale McHaddo

Writer: Fernando Alonso, Ale McHaddo

Runtime: 74 Minutes

Starring: Sara Drust, Jeremy Sless, Evan Judson

Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here

Upon hearing that her father has unexpectedly passed away, Cindy (Sara Drust) decides to take an extended vacation with her boyfriend Mark (Jeremy Sless), long-time friend Nathan (Evan Judson), and his girlfriend Jennifer (Marcella Marques) to her childhood home. Once there, Cindy brushes off their concerns at how the former commune property gives off weird vibes. After an awkward brush with some locals and a few weird discoveries in the house, the group finds themselves haunted by specters from Cindy’s family’s past.

Empty supernatural horror that could be written exclusively by AI, Deep Hatred is as by-the-numbers as you can get for a paranormal thriller.

One of the biggest issues with Deep Hatred is its story. Unoriginal to the bone and unconcerned with characterization, there is nothing substantial within the narrative. The revelations can be easily spotted, what propels the horror is hard to take seriously, and its final twist kills whatever good will is built up throughout the film for its sheer stupidity. Not much goes into developing the story beyond its bare bones. This leads to a rather empty feeling in the end that leaves the audience with a distinct “so what” attitude.

The catalyst of the horror comes in the form of a nondescript doll that Mark casually unboxes without the knowledge of the events he sets into motion. From there, most of the horror is done off screen or in quick shots that hide the lack of budget. Once the ending hits, it makes more sense as to why this all happens but even still that doesn’t explain most of the film. The explanation retcons a solid portion of the middle of Deep Hatred which feels disingenuous considering the lack of a central reliable narrator.

Flat main characters make it difficult to stay invested in the horror. Beyond her connection with her deceased father, Cindy is given little to define herself beyond the bland final girl lite tropes plastered on her. Mark gets even less. His arc as a doting boyfriend deeply concerned with the events transpiring doesn’t mine any material that might be fresh or unique on the dynamic. In the end, everyone serves as vessels for the horror to happen to them rather than truly interacting with their environment.

Lacking chemistry and in need of fine tuning their skills, the cast struggle with the material. Once bigger emotions are necessary to convey the terror and confusion of the situation, they flounder. It’s hard to take the cast seriously when it looks like they are on the verge of laughing during the deadlier scenes. Wooden delivery and unconvincing portrayals make Deep Hatred difficult to stay with through its runtime.

From a technical standpoint, there isn’t much to laud over Deep Hatred either. The cinematography is flat and uninteresting, the action is lifeless and drawn out, and it is tonally inconsistent. The effects work is minimally used but still showcases the lack of resources the team had at their disposal. Much of the issues of the film shine through brightly during the final confrontation. The blocking for the camera leaves much to be desired, as the action looks off during the entirety of the finale.

Derivative, plodding, and hollow, Deep Hatred makes no apologies for cashing in on the tried-and-true formula of generic supernatural hometown horror. A dull and lifeless script makes what should be a quick and easy indie horror feel interminable. Poor performances sink the boat even further as the cast cannot supply the necessary power to save this generally uninteresting film. While there is little to recommend, those who have a soft spot for indie filmmaking or the specific slice of horror that documents children returning to their childhood home may find something worth drowning over here. For anyone else, it may be best to skip the sojourn home.

Overall Score? 3/10

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