UK Release Date TBC
If this sounds like a strange title, well that’s only because it is. The film is actually a 2011 feature originally called Breath of Hate but it was never released outside of festival screenings. After a fresh coat of paint thanks to a vaguely Wes Craven sounding name it now finds its way onto digital services. Without looking too much into the history of the film just trying to describe it raises some of the problems that might have caused the re-branding; or what got it shelved. It’s the story of a female escort trying to get out of the business by taking one last job, but little does she know that the party is at vacant house where three maniacs have taken over. It’s a simple set-up but the film-makers here have far more convoluted and poorly conceived ideas in mind.
After falling for the super charismatic Ned (Jason Mewes) and deciding to quit her job, Love (Lauren Walsh) finds that she can’t walk out so easily, and she’s pressured into backing down thanks to her pimp’s over acting. The characters are all either bland or obnoxious whether they’re supposed to be average Joes or seedy crooks which doesn’t bode well, even for a story which has nothing but time to fill before the body count starts rising. The romantic melodrama is never convincing and the dialogue which includes jokes about Myspace and other pop culture artefacts really doesn’t help. One thinks she’s an actress, the other is trying to save her pennies, and their boss cares more about his pet turtle than any of them.
Their destination happens to be a terrible party even before the blood letting, since their guests seem to think sitting in silence with one crate of beer between six people is a good time. But their attempts to debate philosophy is where things really start to heat up which signals one of two problems here. Firstly the endless amount of banal dialogue: the ramblings of crazy people coupled with the pseudo-intellectual sound bites of the central character. It seems to be an attempt to portray her as someone who is destined for more than this scabrous lifestyle. Hate (Ezra Buzzington) leads the crackpot brigade and comes off as a low rent Stephen Lang, often talking to himself in the dark and waving a knife. So there are characters are called Love and Hate and it’s never clear why. He spends the entire film blabbering about destiny, religion, revolution and new realms of perception.
Perhaps this might have worked if he was just a clichéd preacher but it soon degenerates into total nonsense. According the synopsis Hate and friends are actually escaped mental patients but the movie won’t tell you that, unless you read deeply enough into the vague brain scan images used in the opening credits. The performances of his cohorts are even less effective which is saying something. Cleb (Ricardo Gray) is the least sane of the three and Selma (Monique Parent) is the sadomasochist of the trio. There are no genuine horror moments to be found and any real psycho outbursts are relegated to a brief neck biting moment. Instead they include five minutes of Cleb having sex with fruit, and a lot of scenes of foreplay filler with the various escorts. Seedy or unintentionally funny? It’s hard to say.
The second more importantly problem is the structure. The narrative is a huge mess as it jumps between future moments and flashbacks. Non-linear storytelling can be something that works but here they only use it to give away how things will turn out in some of the earliest scenes. Wondering which of these expendable idiots will make it out alive? Too bad they showed it already. Anticipating Love’s bloody retribution towards her captors? Oh she’s escaped, and got caught, and taken revenge already. With thirty minutes still to go. Clearly this is just a sleazy horror movie under all the pretentious babbling, and in a way these are the predictable tropes you’d be expecting. But they could have at least tried to achieve a small amount of suspense.
Almost every key moment is shown ahead of time and the results are genuinely terrible. Eventually all the waiting around builds to a climax and the story finally starts to reach feature length. At last the hero can get past all these random strip club conversations and the rest of the padding, and make a run for the credits. However this is the point at which some kind of supernatural element appears out of nowhere, which is even more baffling than the rest of the story. It’s hard to decipher exactly what’s going on here but some of the dead girls appear as ghosts and then the spirit of Hate rises up to take his endless rambling to a new level from beyond the grave. Not before helping Love regain consciousness for reasons that are unclear.
Maybe that’s what is going on here, but it’s not that easy to say. For a film that spoils its own story so often it’s not that easy to describe when things are this incoherent. Flashbacks showing Love trying to move on and get a job as a councillor are shown towards the end in a last ditch effort to gain sympathy points but they arrive way too late. Which is an odd choice after all the nonsense, since this isn’t a serious drama where that kind of conclusion might have worked. Finally this all comes to an embarrassing end as Ned comes to the rescue. Then the two love birds somehow escape to their new lives… or at least that seems to be the idea. It’s not funny-bad, or at least not consistently enough. It barely counts as entertainment at all if I’m being honest. In the end it’s just a film that should have stayed on the shelf.