Dealing with personal demons isn’t anything new for serial killers. But things are a little different for Eric Seaver (Michael Kallio). You see his personal demon tends to show up just about any time Eric has a problem and his solution is simple: kill them all. Nothing resolves conflict like a little bloodshed. Suffering through an abusive childhood at the hands of his stepfather (Gunnar Hansen), Eric finds a little comfort in this demon who shows up after one particularly bad night. Flash forward several years later and Eric, now grown up, has his life together. Living with his girlfriend, Eric works as a transcriber for a morgue while also working on a film script. Writer’s block seems to be his biggest problem until one day his mother passes away. Riddled with grief, Eric blames his stepfather and suddenly his demon returns and shows him what better way to grieve than to knock off the guy who you think caused your pain. However it seems his demon isn’t content with just one death. Next thing you know Mike is a bona fide serial killer. The only voice of reason seems to be Eric’s friend Michael. Can Michael help Eric before things really get out of control or will his killings start to hit a little too close to home?
When you hear a film took 9 years to come to fruition red flags usually go up. Well you can take down the flags and throw them in the garbage. Obviously a labor of love for writer/star/director Mike Kallio, Hatred of a Minute is a stellar debut. Fueled by impressive camera work and graphic violence, Hatred grabs you by the throat from the start and doesn’t let up. The film moves at a lightning pace for the entire 84 minutes of it’s running time. The story unravels through flashbacks and current time events that really showcase Eric’s descent into insanity. Instead of just following him around, the audience really gets to experience what he is feeling by seeing what exactly is going on in his head. I really enjoyed the concept of having Eric narrate between scenes while driving in the car with the woman tied up in the backseat. It was extremely effective at moving the film from scene to scene and the payoff of who is in the backseat had me fooled.
The direction is really what drives the film. Kallio creates a maniacal world inside Eric’s head with the constant editing in of flashbacks and alternate realities. Too much flash can be distracting and downright annoying but Kallio gets it just right. We are dragged into his downward spiral whether we like it or not. The camerawork is excellent with some nice nods to the Evil Dead. This is definitely a major step above most independent films. His use of the demon character is great and downright creepy at times. He kept reminding me of the classic film Nosferatu with the way he looked and how he would almost glide in and out of scenes. Kallio frames the shots with him perfectly to basically release him at just the right time. Also used effectively here is gore and violence. Too often abused, Kallio uses them to his advantage to create a sense of unease. He knows when to stick with a shot to show it all and when to pull away to go with a less is more philosophy.
After watching Hatred of a Minute, it is pretty easy to see why Bruce Campbell became involved with this project and even lent his name to it. A cut above the majority of independent horror films out there, this has a solid story with excellent technical aspects on the production end. Aside from a little cheesy acting here and there (hey it is an indie film with Bruce’s name on it), this really delivers. Hopefully it won’t be another nine years before we see another Mike Kallio production. He seems to have the goods and I look forward to seeing what comes next. With so much crap flooding the multiplexes these days that calls itself horror, it is nice to see a film that takes the initiative to give you more. This is definitely worth checking out. 8 out of 10.