Among the impressive lineup presented at the 2023 Chattanooga Film Festival was the first ever Lithuanian slasher movie, We Might Hurt Each Other. Never seen a Lithuanian horror movie? Me either! Thats probably because they didn’t exist before 2014 when, Cellar, was released. Perhaps the tides are turning, and hopefully so, as We Might Hurt Each Other, directed by Jonas Trukanas, shows great promise.
The movie starts with a somewhat familiar setup. We find a group of teenagers at their high school graduation ceremony. They’ve decided to have one final party before going their separate ways for college. However, the party venue falls through. Luckily, one of the graduate’s mother is a real estate agent trying to sell a secluded cabin with a storied past. He swipes the keys, becomes the hero and the party is back on.
A caravan of excited teens hit the road. Among them are a gifted athlete with a career awaiting him in the states, a very talented DJ, and our meek soirée savior among others. Upon arriving at the cabin they find several large wooden carvings. They resemble humans but are very stylized folk art. Once the debauchery ensues, some of the kids deface, burn and behead the carvings. The kids are in a place they don’t fully understand, but they quickly learn not all art is disposable content when the artist turns his blade towards them.
We Might Hurt Each Other operates on its face as a very successful slasher, providing an interesting setting, well developed characters and satisfying kills. The neon rave set to the backdrop of the rustic cabin illustrates a clear juxtaposition of the old and the new. It’s also visually appealing and provides an energetic soundtrack. We Might Hurt Each Other also manages to go beyond the baseline slasher formula and provides a path for empathy when it comes to its villain. The more we find out about the cabin, the more clear his motives become. As the cat and mouse chase unfolds throughout the woods, the tension between the kids rise leading to more than just one element of danger.
This film is ultimately about self preservation in every sense. The new graduates want to protect their future, the slasher wants to protect his past, and perhaps the way to achieve these two things are one in the same. What happens when saving face becomes more important than saving a life? You put on a mask, of course.
Be on the lookout for We Might Hurt Each Other hitting SCREAMBOX soon.