This is one of the scariest, clammiest, most skin-crawling films in recent memory, a tale of victims stuck in small, isolated towns where no one hears their cries for help, and their persecutors — both bullies and clueless administrators and figures of authority — are pitiless. Doing a noble job of looking at bullying from a variety of vantages, director Lee Hirsch crisscrosses the country to tackle the problem from multiple entry points. The one thing all of these victims seem to have in common is parents whose socioeconomic situation makes them easier to marginalize. The most shocking content in Bully — and the material that initially garnered the film an R rating for language — is on the school bus, where 12-year-old Alex in Sioux City, Iowa, is brutalized by his classmates. But in terms of monsters, that title could be reserved for people like the sugar-voiced, utterly clueless assistant principal at Alex’s school who seems to experience some sensation of do-gooding concern in drawing out tales of torture from her charges, only to do nothing with the information. The second best thing to come out of the film after an end to bullying would be a purging of this school’s administrative ranks. Some people may object to the film’s conclusion, which focuses on the efforts of anti-bullying activists. But in all honestly, after watching an hour and a half of children enduring relentless pain and the apathetic adults who are supposed to support them, you need that final message of hope.