This goofy dark comedy questions this guy’s sanity.
We meet the charity worker Pete, who is visiting his college friends in an old mansion to celebrate his birthday. IMDB labels it a horror and a comedy, but in retrospect, it’s more of a dark comedy, as “All My Friends Hate Me” questions if the friends of the main protagonist are turning against him or is he turning against himself.
Consider the opening scene when he’s singing along with a popular song, and then the titles horrifically appear as “ALL MY FRIENDS HATE ME.” Is something amiss? What are we getting ourselves into? And what’s the outcome?
That’s the fun of this British dark comedy, which knows when to be comical, serious, and honest. And when it features a cast of actors most people aren’t too familiar with, you hope to see them again. Like Tom Stourton (“About Time”) delivering a wacky and curious performance as Pete, and co-writing the film with humor and darkness. I wouldn’t recognize his name in the credits, but it wouldn’t hurt to look him up on IMDB, now wouldn’t it.
As Pete enters the mansion, he meets Harry (Dustin Demri-Burns), a weird, eccentric guy his friends pick up at a local pub. It may be because of this guy that Pete’s friends are turning against him, by being mean and saying that he drove his ex-girlfriend Claire (Antonia Clarke) away because of his plans to marry his current one Sonia (Charly Clive). But Pete hasn’t told Claire about that, so how could she possibly know about that? Or does she really know about that?
Demri-Burns has a wickedly nutty tone and atmosphere. It’s difficult to trust this guy, or is it? And he has a laugh-out-loud scene that seems formulaic, but it’s funnier once you see it.
The other friends include George (Joshua McGuire), the owner of the mansion, his wife Fig (Georgina Campbell), and the coke hound Archie (Graham Dickson). Out of them, Dickman delivers the attitude and comedy when he dresses in formal, and accuses Pete of wasting his cocaine. Was it Pete? Because he doesn’t think so.
Years ago, I saw a terrible British comedy called “A Fantastic Fear of Everything,” which all I remember had Simon Pegg duct-taping a knife to his hand to avoid being killed. Why did I have to see that nightmare? “All My Friends Hate Me” is nothing like that at all. It’s more low key and consistent in the ways we question why Pete is having a lousy Birthday. Stourton is the right actor to portray a man in his position, and I hope he’ll gain more recognition, as I do for many other lesser known talents.
A silly example of awkwardness is how Pete inadvertently insults an old man (Christopher Fairbank), who helped him find directions to the mansion. The old man shows up, and he’s no longer on speaking terms with Pete for the rest of the film. Could Harry have something to do with that? Or was it Pete’s fault?
I didn’t understand everything going on in the story, but I still was curious about how this was going to be executed. Or was it supposed to be executed? It’s fun to find out with Andrew Gaynord’s direction and Stourton and Tom Palmer’s writing. If you do find it at your local art house theater, please come and talk to me about it. We may agree, we may disagree, or we may have different theories. Or they could be the same. It’s a questionable dark comedy.
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