Title: All My Friends Hate Me
Director: Andrew Gaynord
Actor(s): Tom Stourton, Dustin Demri-Burns
Genre: Dark Comedy/Drama
Runtime: 1 hour 34 minutes
WARNING: THIS MOVIE REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS
Even though I liked All My Friends Hate Me I can understand why it got a fairly low audience rating. This is NOT a horror movie. It’s an extremely uncomfortable and chaotic indie drama with a protagonist who severe mental health issues that become more and more evident as the film progresses.
Throughout the movie it’s unclear whether the protagonist is having the fuck gaslit out of him or is simply mentally ill. By the end you’d have to conclude the latter, and you’re left wondering how much of the movie was just in his head. Pete (Tom Stourton) is going to celebrate his birthday with his best friends in a beautiful country mansion.
He soon runs into complications, including a super-weird local who he asks for directions and a homeless man with a chained-up dog. When he gets there none of his friends are there and he waits a long time. When they finally show up their behavior immediately starts weirding him out and it seems like they don’t want him there.
There’s also a new guy, Harry, (Dustin Demri-Burns) who the friends just picked up at a bar and brought him to the party because they thought he was hilarious. Right away Harry starts getting under Pete’s skin and harassing him. The others hurl thinly veiled insults at Pete and blame him for the suicide attempt of Claire (Antonia Clarke,) with whom he used to be an item.
The film is a slow burn and I kept expecting it to have more of a ‘horror’ element, but that never happened. The acting was good and the feel of the movie really captures social anxiety and what it feels like to be around people who are supposed to be your friends when you feel like you’re not actually liked or wanted.
The exaggerated interactions Pete has with his ‘friends’ (frenemies?) leaves you wondering if anything you’re seeing is real. In a way I thought this was too ambiguous. It’s hard to totally invest in a film when 90% of it is probably in the main character’s imagination and very little is resolved or explained.
I felt for Pete throughout, but I started to understand how his behavior could be frustrating for the others. He had previously volunteered at a refugee camp and it seemed like it was all he could talk about. He was also pretty self-absorbed and not nearly as ‘enlightened’ as he would like to think, evidenced by the scene where he calls Harry a ‘pikey.’
Pete is a deeply troubled person and you get the scene that the movie barely skims the surface of how much baggage he has. Tom Stourton gives an engaging and naturalistic performance that easily allows the viewer to empathize with his situation.
I found some of the scenes in the movie triggering because of my own experience with suffering a psychotic breakdown. It was skillfully executed but stressful to watch and might be disappointing to some horror fans looking for something more traditionally scary.