Dedicated to trapping the audience in the inexhaustible cycle of anxiety, the aptly titled All My Friends Hate Me allows terror and comedy to unspool simultaneously, both leaving the audience at a distance and roping them in.

Pete, played by Tom Stourton with a distinct forced aloofness, is invited to spend his birthday weekend with university friends in the countryside. While there he feigns ease when faced with a brand of casual cruelty reserved for English public school boys. He is subjected to pranks, to roasts, to peer pressure, all while nervously laughing, too frightened to push back.

Director Andrew Gaynord punctuates monologues with an array of troubled and confused reaction shots, effectively mining horror and humour in the space between how people think they are seen and how people are really seen. 

The film’s worries about isolation are also conveyed through the set – every room the characters wander into is cavernous and ornate, swallowing Pete up in its rich reds and cool blues, making him look small and plain by comparison. Every door is slightly ajar, constructing a labyrinth of accidental eavesdropping. Pieces of overheard conversations float around the house, lingering in every room until each group scene is fraught with everything unsaid.

Gaynord is careful in how he layers panic and frustration, the film feels as directionless and protracted as an actual panic attack. The explosive climax almost feels incompatible with the film’s understanding of angst, which had been bubbling, rolling itself into knots, only to be released in a dramatic final showdown. 

A film for those who are particularly sensitive to the difference between being known and being remembered, All My Friends Hate Me is a story emanating anxiety rather than being explicitly about it. Despite an ending that didn’t deliver on the film’s promise, it proves to be a successful lesson in cinematic mood building.



CAST: Tom Stourton, Georgina Campbell, Joshua McGuire, Antonia Clarke

DIRECTOR: Andrew Gaynord

WRITERS: Tom Palmer, Tom Stourton

SYNOPSIS: Pete travels to the countryside to spend a weekend with his friends from university.