The Universal thriller revolves around an epidemic of random violence in which ordinary people lash out remorselessly without warning.
Glen Mazzara (The Shield) is on board to write the script.
Del Toro told Variety: "What I loved about Hater is it recognises the reality that we live in, where it is incredibly easy to polarise, to hate for gender, race, age."
The Mexican filmmaker was originally approached to direct, but is now committed to spending four years in New Zealand to helm The Hobbit.
He added: "I'll carry my weight on the creative side, in choosing elements and storyboarding, but it will be up to Mark (Johnson, co-producer) and the director we choose to execute the day to day.
"The Hobbit is a monumental task, and I don't want to do anything that detracts from my attention to that."