Antisocial Movie Review
Written by Charlotte Stear
DVD released by Monster Pictures
Directed by Cody Calahan
Written by Chad Archibald and Cody Calahan
2013, 96 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 14th April 2014
Michelle Mylett as Sam
Cody Thompson as Mark
Adam Christie as Jed
Ana Alic as Kaitlin
Romaine Waite as Steve
Ry Barrett as Chad
[Editor's Note: Review originally published in advance of Antisocial's screening at Film4 Frightfest 2013]
Antisocial is the potential indie-horror hit of the summer festival circuit. Announced to screen at Montreal’s Fantasia International Film Festival and London’s FrightFest, it already has a media buzz around it. It is not surprising as Antisocial manages to take subject matters that will seem familiar to horror audiences (a viral outbreak, a group of friends held hostage in their own home, the terrors of social media etc.) but crucially, makes it all seamlessly work together in a fresh new way.
The movie takes place on New Year’s Eve on a University campus and follows Sam who has just been dumped by her boyfriend. She meets some friends at a house party in an attempt to take her mind off things, but something very wrong has started to happen. Students have started killing themselves and attacking each other, and it progressively gets worse. They are soon barricaded in their house as the epidemic spreads and use their phones, laptops and social networking sites as their connection to the outside world. But they soon realise the social media sites may be the root of this madness as it begins to spread worldwide. First people get nosebleeds, then they hallucinate and then they become violent; it’s not long before the friends start to see symptoms in each other.
With a premise of “private life is public knowledge” whether you are on a social media outlet or not, anyone can relate to the ideas put out by this film. The whole movie is a not-too-subtle metaphor about our generation’s obsession with social media; the idea that if you’re not on Facebook or Twitter, you’re not truly connected to anyone. A scene of a group ‘selfie’ photo is cringe worthy in how accurate it is and, at a base level, how utterly ridiculous. This is people presenting life not how it is, but how they want it to be perceived. So right there, this film is connecting to its audience in a pretty major way, making us look at the real banality of what we use this technology for. It is reminiscent of some pretty awful technology based horror efforts put out over the past ten years, Cell and One Missed Call being two that sprang to mind. Ridiculous concepts that were poorly executed and thus instantly forgettable. Antisocial manages to capture something they missed, it is an ‘out there’ concept, but how the story progresses and the way in which it unravels is compelling and is as believable as it can be. The dialogue at times is mediocre and some of the character relationships needed more back story, but it does well to hook you into this apocalyptic world.
They style of the film evolves quite dramatically; it starts off haunting and atmospheric, but the final few scenes are a complete 180 turnaround from that. There is a steady build up from the moment the movie starts, an uneasiness that never relents but get progressively worse. As people begin to hallucinate there is screeching music that feels like a headache, bringing you into their frantic struggle for survival. And as it gets more stressful, it also gets bloodier. Yay! Some graphic scenes are hallucinated but this doesn’t take away from their shock value (an eye gouging is NEVER pleasant) and the ‘real’ violence is brutal, killing infected with laptops no less. Added to the brutality is the knowledge these people are friends that have to turn on each other. Doubtful they’ll do a status update on this night out…
As a directorial debut for Cody Calahan, this is a great way to break onto the horror scene and he will be one to watch in the future. Antisocial is a stylish, thought-provoking movie that shines against all the mainstream horrors that seem to be all remakes and cheap scares, indie-horror is the place to look for some refreshing tales, Antisocial is a good place to start.