Written by Maria Manuella Pache de Athayde
All My Friends Hate Me is Andrew Gaynord’s directorial feature film debut. It tells the story of Pete (Tom Stourton, who also co-wrote the film) as he reunites with his posh university friends to enjoy a birthday getaway in a fancy country manor. What ensues from this mini-reunion is a series of strange and uncomfortable events as Pete and his friends try to live it up to the good old days when they were still at school. On the surface, this is a simple premise but as the story progresses things get a bit more convoluted.
The most interesting thing All My Friends Hate Me has going for it is the discussion of classism in British society. These differences between Pete and his more affluent friends are hinted at throughout the movie. The dynamic among them made me wonder why Pete was even friends with these people in the first place. They seem to have nothing in common, or at least nothing in common anymore. These differences intensify as the film progresses and the friends grow more paranoid making the weekend incredibly uncomfortable. The tensions we observed on screen combined with the score helped set the tempo for their reunion.
If you enjoyed the vibes of The Cabin in the Woods (2011) or Ready or Not (2019) this movie might be for you, although, I have to admit that those movies did it much better. For me, if the characters aren’t compelling enough it is hard for me to want to learn more and enjoy their story. This was the case as I watched this film. Perhaps if the film leaned into more of its campy aspects, as a way to explore what happens to friends when they drift apart and differences in social status, it would have been more effective. With those caveats aside, this was an okay effort for a debut director. I am sure it will find an audience somewhere but it wasn’t for me. In any case, I will keep my eye on Gaynord and Strourton’s next projects to see where they go from here.
All My Friends Hate Me was screened as part of the Tribeca 2021 Film Festival thru Tribeca at Home(available only in the USA). Further Distribution TBD.
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