Over the last few years, the BBFC seem to have shown more sense when it comes to ratings and almost mellowed out. It seems to take a lot nowadays to really draw the ire of them. So when a film is refused a release at all now, it would be suitable to expect that the film must have some genuinely horrible or questionable content. With this in mind, let us take a look at the most recent movie to banned by the BBFC, Hate Crime.
Hate Crime, directed by James Cullen Bressack, is a found footage movie which focuses on the torture, degradation and murder that happens to members of a Jewish family by a group of Neo-Nazis, drugged out of their minds. It is essentially one of the most extreme home invasion films you will ever see. It is a simple plot, but that does not make it simple to watch.
WARNING! THE BELOW TRAILER CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND SOME AND IS NOT SAFE FOR WORK!
I recently had the opportunity to interview Mr. Bressack about Hate Crime (which you can read here) and he was great. Informative and forthcoming with details. Which makes my view of his film harder, but I have to tell it how I feel it is. For me, Hate Crime is nothing more than torture porn at its most base level. The film exists to be degrading and nothing more. Mr. Bressack said that there was a message in the film, but if there is, it gets lost throughout the evil perpetrated on screen, behind the murky veil of rape and murder.
What I will say is that most of the vile acts occur off screen, so it is a film that relies more on the power of suggestion. There are films where this works, with a notable example being Tobe Hooper’s 1974 classic, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. But, that is where the comparisons end. While The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a surrealist nightmare and quite honestly one of the finest horror movies ever made, Hate Crime is an instantly forgettable one.
While I may not have liked the movie, that does not mean I feel it should be banned. As mentioned above, most of the violence or torture does happen off screen. So, it is all about the power of suggestion. In the statement they released when it was banned, the BBFC said that “little context is provided for the violence” and they feel the film “would risk potential harm, and would be unacceptable to broad public opinion”. Also, they did not feel the film would benefit from cuts as in their opinion, the “unacceptable content runs throughout the work, cuts are not a viable option in this case and the work is therefore refused a classification”. Overall, it is a tough call. I totally respect what the BBFC have said but I do feel that more objectionable content has been released.