Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Death Party with Antisocial: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Breaking Glass Pictures.

**one minor spoiler.

Director: Cody Calahan.

Writers: Chad Archibald and Cody Calahan.

Cast: Michelle Mylett, Cody Ray Thompson, Adam Christie and Ana Alic.

This reviewer is familiar with director Chad Archibald, from this work on Neverlost. This feature was a Canadian shot thriller. Archibald's latest is also a Canadian feature, but Antisocial is more horror than thriller. This indie horror feature, at its heart, is a zombie feature. But, Archibald and writer Cody Calahan work in a meta-message, about the perils of social media. Beware the internet! This title also works in some satisfying horror elements. The production on this feature is also well done, despite some of the cast and crew being relative newcomers to film. Overall, Antisocial is a terror filled horror feature, with only a few slow bits.

The story for Antisocial begins with Sam (Michelle Mylett). Sam is a criminology student, who has recently been dumped by a philandering boyfriend. Sam continues to soldier on and she even finds time for a New Year's Eve party. Though, this party is full of the infected as a dangerous virus goes global. Social media is fueling the infection. And soon, the partiers are turning on each other. The last act is pure survival instinct.

It is already too late for Mark.

There are several compelling horror elements in Antisocial. Sam has to watch her friends succumb to the infection, while others try to crash the party. Those infected experience nosebleeds, hallucinations and the need to feed on others. Those uninfected have to find away to stay alive. The blood flows, especially in the conclusion. A self-surgery scene is especially disturbing. Most horror fans will find something to like here.

Thankfully, Antisocial also tries to deliver a meta-message on the perils of social media. This message is not strongly delivered; however, it is good to see indie films exploring modern trivialities. Apparently, the new social media application, the Red Room, is spreading a virus to users. And, viewers will notice that the director and writers are pointing out the detachment offered by these online platforms. Social media is a misnomer in the film. Instead, social media tears people apart, literally. Scenes of characters perusing the Red Room draws out this message more fully, but these scenes also slow the film down, slightly.

Antisocial still manages to bring a compelling film to the screen. The production values on this feature are mostly well delivered. The acting from the Canadian cast often hits its mark. Although, stronger emotions appear a little forced. The lighting is suitable for an indie horror feature. Mostly shot at night, there is a gloom in the picture, which helps heighten the sinister mood. The music, from composer Steph Copeland, is a draw. The music amplifies events onscreen, in few pivotal scenes. Though, some compositions are repeated a little too often. The focus on interior shooting creates a claustrophobic vibe, but a few more external shots could have helped frame the picture better. Even the conclusion is satisfying, with the writers teasing a sequel.

The film Antisocial is an intriguing horror feature. Essentially a zombie film (at its core), Antisocial offers a flat message on the dangers of social media. Still, Antisocial offers some decent production value and acting from its cast. The final act brings out some decent tension and blood effects. Viewers are encouraged not to stare at the drill too long, or it will look like it is about to pierce your eye. Overall, this feature is a good time spent behind the barricades as an infection looms outside and sometimes inside, too.

Overall: 7 out of 10 (decent characters, the virus spreads a little too quickly and some tension is lost, a few scares, satisfying conclusion).

The film's social media platform:

Antisocial on Facebook

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