Pete is cautiously excited about reuniting with his college crew for a birthday weekend. But, one by one, his friends slowly turn against him. Is he being punished, is he paranoid, or is he part of some sick joke?
‘All My Friends Hate Me’ is a British comedy horror about that scariest of things, being anxious around your friends. Andrew Gaynord’s feature debut attempts to capture millennial anxiety through the viewpoint of Pete (Tom Stourton), a 31-year-old man who is going off to a country house to meet up with some old friends from university for his birthday. He hasn’t seen them in years, but they always have a great time when they get together, or so Pete seems to think, and the film sets out to explore how Pete reacts when this long held viewpoint is challenged.
We first meet Pete before he sets off when he’s chatting with his new girlfriend Sonia (Charly Clive) about being slightly nervous about the weekend, on account of firstly not having seen his friends in years and secondly as a result of having a new girlfriend, which may not go down too well with his ex Claire (Antonia Clarke), who is also going. The warning signs start to appear from the outset, from a couple of setbacks on the journey, to a new member of the group (Harry, played by Dustin Demro-Burns) also being invited who is very forthcoming and doesn’t exactly make it easy for Pete to warm to him. This leads to Pete gradually starting to think that all his friends hate him (hence the title) and every little slight feeds that anxiety, preventing him from ever enjoying the weekend.
As a man of a similar age to Pete, I can relate to some of his worries about drifting apart and about things not being the same as ‘the good old days’. Nostalgia can be a powerful thing, and it can cloud how you move forward as well as make you look back with fondness. The humour perfectly captures this age group well – a bit more attuned to the modern politically correct climate, but still willing to chuck in a Savile joke in the right company. I liked the psychology of the movie and how it plays into the darkest anxieties we all have, showing how easy it is to succumb to them, although I felt that the movie was a little one note and didn’t really know how to vary up, with it settling into quite a familiar pattern that took away some of the needle that I felt it really needed.
‘All My Friends Hate Me’ is a sharp and incisive comedy horror with some well observed social commentary, and it marks out a solid directorial debut for Andrew Gaynord.
Directed By: Andrew Gaynord
Starring: Tom Stourton, Georgina Campbell, Joshua McGuire, Antonia Clarke, Kieran Hodgson, Charly Clive, Dustin Demri-Burns and Christopher Fairbank