All My Friends Hate Me (2021) – Film Review

All My Friends Hate Me (2021) – Film Review bluray

Director: Andrew Gaynord
Cast: Georgina Campbell, Christopher Fairbank, Joshua McGuire
Certificate: 15

By Sarah Morgan

I do love a low-budget movie. I’m of the opinion that the less money a director has to spend, the more inventive they have to be, thus, hopefully, creating a more intriguing project.

All My Friends Hate Me (2021) – Film Review coverIt doesn’t always work that way, of course – there are plenty of movies made on a shoestring budget that are simply terrible – but I’m pleased to say that in the case of All My Friends Hate Me (which takes place almost entirely in a country pile with a central cast of just nine actors), my theory holds firm.

“Troubled psyche”

It’s the brainchild of real-life pals Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton (the latter is the son of BBC broadcaster Edward Stourton), who met at boarding school where they bonded over a shared love of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Ali G. Then, at university, they formed a comedy duo called Totally Tom, which lampooned the upper-middle-class English world they both knew well.

Their first film script is also set in that milieu. Among the special features on the disc, they’re interviewed at the BFI where they admit they were inspired by Richard Curtis movies in which the protagonists all come from a similar background to their own. However, they’ve twisted the narrative, so rather than seeing everyone live happily ever after in a cosy bubble of their own making, we witness the unravelling of a troubled psyche as paranoia and anxiety set in.

While Palmer stepped in to produce the film, Stourton took the lead of Pete, who’s initially thrilled to be invited to attend a reunion of his uni mates at the massive country pile owned by the father of one member of the group.

However, he begins to have his doubts about what lies ahead shortly before arriving when he gets lost, encounters an angry homeless person in a field, and is then unnerved by a local who will come back to haunt him over the coming days.

All My Friends Hate Me (2021) – Film Review bfi

“Believable world”

To make matters even worse, a mysterious newcomer called Harry seems to have infiltrated the group. Everyone else is wildly enthusiastic about him, but he makes Pete feel nervous – he vaguely thinks he recognises him, but can’t quite place the face…

Horror comedies are difficult to pull off, often awkwardly failing to be either funny or scary, but Palmer and Stourton, along with director Andrew Gaynord, have managed it. They’ve created a very believable world in which Pete’s fears do appear to be real; we sympathise with him while cringing throughout as he agonises over situations, putting his foot in it, making a fool of himself and gradually falling apart before our very eyes.

An insight into mental health as much as anything, it perhaps owes more to the work of Michael Haneke and Jordan Peele than it does the aforementioned Curtis – and there can be no higher praise than that.

Special features:
● Presented in High Definition
● Audio commentary by writers Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton and director Andrew Gaynord
● All My Friends Hate Me Q&A (2022, 26 mins): writers Tom Palmer and Tom Stourton talk to film journalist Leigh Singer
● Deleted scenes (2018, 7 mins): two scenes that were removed or significantly altered in the final cut
● The Soho Diaries (2013, 4 mins): a short film by Tom Palmer, Tom Stourton and Andrew Gaynord
● All My Friends Hate Me Press Junket Goes Wrong (2022, 3 mins): comedian Chris Bliss interviews Tom Stourton and Antonia Clarke
● Gallery including an early script, storyboard and production notes
● Trailer
All My Friends Hate Me is released on Blu-ray by the BFI, £19.99

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