The Hatred (2018)

Director: John Adams

Running Time: 59 Minutes

Starring: Zelda Adams, John Adams, Lulu Adams, Thomas Burnham

My review of John Adams' The Hatred was first published at Bloody Good Screen.

Blackfoot Territory, 1869. After putting their wounded guide of out his misery, a group of Confederate soldiers find themselves lost in the wintery terrain. Without any horses, food, or supplies, they raid an isolated home, and murder its inhabitants, unaware they’ve missed a young girl. Intent on delivering hell, she follows their trail armed with her father’s guns, with a resurrected soldier for a companion.

Over 59 minutes, writer, director, and cast-member John Adams delivers a contemplative tale, where the setting is key. The harsh tone mirrors the frosty and unforgiving landscape, which reveals the darkness in people’s hearts. Honour and mercy are lost in favour of self-interest, be it for greed, self-preservation, or a thirst for vengeance. Here, revenge is literally a dish best served cold.

Framing the story is a voiceover from our lead, reciting the films events to a Confederate soldier intent on answers. It’s an interesting tactic which verbalises the inner struggles of our lead, portrayed by an exemplary Zelda Adams. By largely following her narration, we’re told key events rather than being shown them, which feels like the less impactful approach. This also means some characters aren’t able to speak, so feel more like plot conveniences than people.

This doesn’t take away from how tense things can get, with the distorted soundtrack proving unnerving. As the Confederates numbers lessen, we see the all-consuming nature of wrath, which hungers more with each offering. What Adams has made brings to mind The Crow, mixed with Antonia Bird’s Ravenous, for a tremendous mash-up of genres.