Disturbingly scaring devoted fans of the horror genre through physical and emotional scares can be a challenging task, as many people have become desensitized, and are unable to sympathize with others who are contending with distressing situations. So creating a captivating horror movie that intriguingly chronicles the problems of contemporary society in a purposeful way is no easy feat. But actor Spencer Breslin effortlessly collaborated with his co-stars and Adam Egypt Mortimer, who made his feature film writing and directorial debuts on the upcoming horror movie, ‘Some Kind of Hate,’ to create realatable characters and a socially relevant story that audiences can truly appreciate.
The independent movie, which is set to be released on Friday in theaters and on VOD and iTunes, powerfully showcases how adults’ ignorance can lead to tragic and senseless bullying among high school students. If teachers were able to dedicate more time to carrying from those teens who are targeted, the motives that drive classmates to betray one another through violence may be brought to an end.
‘Some Kind of Hate’ follows troubled teen Lincoln (Ronen Rubinstein), who emotionally struggles to contend with the people in his life who continuously berate him, from his neglectful father (Andrew Bryniarski) to his ruthless peers. After being pushed to the breaking point one day at school, Lincoln physically attacks one of his classmates who has relentlessly targeted him. As a result, he’s remanded to an isolated reform school in the California desert, but he fails to find any true solace in his new environment. The new-age detention center, which is run by such leaders as Jack Iverson (Michael Polish) and Christine (Lexi Atkins), doesn’t enforce many rules or offer much organization or protection.
When he’s targeted by some of the bullies in his new school, the introverted Lincoln only develops a friendship with his new roommate, Isaac (Breslin). An attraction also forms with the guilt-ridden Kaitlin (Grace Phipps), who leaves behind her friends who have begun tormenting the newcomer. In the aftermath of his latest attack, Lincoln angrily wishes his intimidators would die. In the process, he inadvertently summons the spirit of Moira (Sierra McCormick), who was tormented at the school herself before she died.
Wanting to defend her fellow victim, Moira inflicts violence on herself, which is also inflicted on the people she targets, notably Lincoln’s enemies. While he’s initially happy for the reprieve from his bullies, he soon realizes that he can’t allow her to continue hurting everyone who has wronged him. The two ultimately become involved in a battle of their own, as he finally builds the courage to protect himself and the people he has come to care about.
Breslin generously took the time recently to talk about portraying Isaac in ‘Some Kind of Hate’ during an exclusive phone interview. Among other things, the actor discussed how he was drawn to play Isaac in the movie, as he loves horror films that feature well-developed stories and characters, and he felt ‘Some Kind of Hate’ features authentic backstories and insights into the important social issue of bullying; how even though Mortimer was a first-time director, he always knew what he wanted and had a great vision, but also took the time to collaborate with the actors; and how it was gratifying that audiences who saw the movie at the horror film festivals it played at have expressed their appreciation for its relatable characters and social issues.
ShockYa (SY): You star as Isaac in the new horror film, ‘Some Kind of Hate,’ which follows a bullied teenager, Lincoln Taggert, who’s sent to a reform school where he accidentally summons the spirit of a girl, who was a victim of bullying herself, and subsequently takes vengeance on his tormentors. What was it about the character of Isaac, who becomes one Lincoln’s few friends, as well as the script overall, that convinced you to take on the role?
Spencer Breslin SB: I immediately thought this film had a really cool script. I love horror movies, especially ones with good stories and characters. Every character in this script has a great backstory, and they’re well-written. The dialogue is real, and I believe the friendships are authentic. That’s what I really look for in a script.
I also really liked the people who were involved in the film. The director, Adam, and I connected really quickly. So overall, the movie really appealed to me because the script and the characters were really great, and so was everyone who was involved in making it.
SY: Adam Egypt Mortimer, who you just mentioned, made his feature film directorial and writing debuts on the horror movie. What was your experience of working with him on the film, especially since he was a first-time filmmaker? Do you prefer working with helmers who also worked on the script?
SB: It was great working with Adam. Like you said, he was a first-time director, but during the entire shoot, he was in command. He knew what he wanted and had a great vision, which was really helpful to the actors. This is a super-low budget movie, and when we started shooting every day, it felt like we already behind, because we were always under a time crunch. But Adam would still always take the time to explain anything that needed explaining to any of the actors, or anyone else on set. Adam is really super-talented, and was always calm and collected on the set.
SY: Since ‘Some Kind of Hate’ is an action-driven horror movie, what was the process of shooting it independently on a limited schedule influence the way you approached playing your character?
SB: I love working on independent films, and I have worked on quite a few in the past. I like the fact that everyone who’s on the set really want to be there and likes the project, because no one who’s working on independent films is receiving a big paycheck. It was such a fun process for me, because I really wanted to be there. I loved the character and the script, as well as the people I worked with on the set. I like that low-budget, we’re in this together feeling, which was definitely there every day on the set.
SY: With the majority of the horror film being set at the isolated reform school in the California desert, what was the experience of filming in an isolated location?
SB: Our location was really hot, dusty and uncomfortable, but it was still really cool to film there. I live in the city of L.A., so there’s something cool about grabbing your cup of coffee and getting in your car at 4:30 in the morning to drive really far away to get to the set. Then once you get there, you’re able to do your thing without any distractions. I think that made us all rely on each other a little bit, which helped make the movie seem real. We were all out of our elements, since we were hanging out in the desert every day. We would go out there to work, and since we would be away from all the comforts that we were used to, we could truly just focus on the film. So I really loved that process.
SY: What was your working relationship with Ronen Rubinstein, plays Lincoln in the horror movie, like as you were filming? Did you rehearse together to discuss the characters’ developing friendship?
SB: When I first met Ronen, we immediately became friends. A lot of times, we’ll do these actor bonding exercises, and they were totally natural between Ronen and I. We’re both New Yorkers who are fans of the New York Rangers, which broke the ice really quickly. We also quickly realized that we have similar senses of humor and the same tastes in music. We had a lot of down time on the set to talk to each other, which really made the on-screen friendship seem more realistic. Like how our characters bonded really quickly in the film, we connected just as quickly in real life. Ronen’s a great guy, and he was a pleasure to act with every day.
SY: The film is interesting in the sense that it doesn’t immediately introduce the physical horror and stunts; it instead begins as a pure drama that focuses on the emotional bullying Lincoln’s subject to, before it introduces the violence. With Isaac becoming one of Lincoln’s few allies at the reform school, why do you feel it’s important for films, especially a horror-driven one like ‘Some Kind of Hate,’ to discuss such serious issues as bullying amongst teenagers?
SB: I really liked how the film took its time to build up to the blood and stunts. With the way the film was written, and the way we ended up shooting it, we were able to have that slow build-up. That helps the audience really start to care about the characters, and as a result, they feel really bad when the characters die. It also helps viewers realize they don’t like certain characters, as they see the kinds of things they do. So I think it’s cool that we have that nice build-up, so that viewers can start to care about the characters, and become invested in the story before all hell breaks loose.
If you don’t have relatable characters who you can relate to, who cares why any of the crazy and violent things happen? For me, it’s all about the characters, because I want to care about them, and I think most other people do, too. I think being able to connect to the characters makes watching films a more relatable experience for the audience, especially when things do start to become crazy. IF the audience has the time to think about the issues that are presented in the story, as well as start to care about the characters, they’ll be able to figure out if they like them.
SY: Besides developing the story’s important social issues and your character’s emotions in these action-driven horror films, do you also enjoy performing stunts?
SB: Oh yes, I turn into a five-year-old boy whenever there’s blood and guts on set. (laughs) I really love that stuff, and get really hyper and excited over it. So I love doing action sequences. (laughs)
SY: The horror movie had its world premiere at the Stanley Film Festival this past May, and also played at this year’s Fantasia International Film Festival and FrightFest. Were you able to attend a screening of the movie at the festival, and if so, what was your experience like there?
SB: Oh yes, that was a rad experience. I actually haven’t gone to too many festivals before throughout my life before this, but getting to attend festivals with this film was really cool. I got to go to the Stanley Film Festival in Colorado. That was cool, because it’s a relatively new festival. There were all these horror icons who attended, but there were also fans who were just going for the fun of watching horror movies. That’s what these festivals are all about-everyone, not just industry people, are going to watch these films for fun. So I think it was a great way for us to introduce this movie.
There were people who would come up to Ronen and me and tell us that they liked the movie and the characters. It’s always awesome and amazing when people take the time to tell you they like your work. When people like the film, it makes the process worth it. When you make a movie and even one person likes it, I think it’s awesome, and get excited over that.
SY: ‘Some Kind of Hate’ is set to be released in theaters, as well as on VOD and iTunes on Friday. Are you personally a fan of watching movies On Demand, and why do you think the platform is beneficial for independent films like this one?
SB: I love going to the theater to watch movies, but independent films like this one don’t immediately open everywhere. So I think VOD and iTunes are great, because it gives people who would otherwise have to drive three hours to the closest theater that plays the film the chance to see this movie in their homes. So the more people who can watch this film at home, the better.
Written by: Karen Benardello