Mixing two recently-popular tropes - found footage and home invasion - Bressack’s second film manages to be both a kick in the gut and a sobering look at extremist mentalities.
Celebrating the birthday of their youngest son (Sloane Morgan Siegel), father (Depetro) is filming everything on his camcorder, while mother (Wagner) keeps their other children (Diesel and Clark) in check.
Their peace and enjoyment is shattered when a group of three masked Neo-Nazis barge in, and proceed to cause mayhem; killing, torturing and raping as much as they can. The reason? The family is Jewish, obviously they have moved into the wrong neighbourhood as far as this gang of crystal-meth-crazed lunatics are concerned.
Hate Crime is brutal. It’s nasty. It’s very uncomfortable to watch. And it’s meant to be. There’s no denying that there are horrible-minded people out there. It doesn’t matter what religion, race, or anything these people are, they exist. For someone to take his or her ‘beliefs’ to the extreme of harming or even just inconveniencing another human being is deplorable. Those are the facts. With Bressack’s film, we have an alarming group who seem to be under many people’s radar: those who still support the Nazi ideals.
It wastes no time getting going, the gang are in the house and brutalising within the first five minutes. They are high on meth, and clearly not in control of their thoughts; quite often, their actions even come across as buffoonish. However, there is nothing remotely funny about them, nor should they be. The terrible and disturbing acts they both commit and force their captives to commit are sickening.
However, it’s not violence for the sake of it. Once the invaders take control of the camera and begin filming their actions, we are drawn into their world, powerless to stop it, almost becoming complicit.
While it can be argued that the thugs’ treatment of the women of the house - which is barbaric and deeply upsetting - isn’t as realistic as it should be (it’s hard to imagine they’d stop at stripping them to their underwear), it’s powerful and horrific enough to make its point. Anything further may have strayed too far into exploitation and taken the focus away from the serious issues the film raises.
It’s certainly not a fun film, but it’s an impressive use of the format, and worth catching if you have the stomach for it.
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