Directed by Cody Calahan
In under a decade, social media networks have gone from casual time wasters in our spare time to daily life-altering investments that adhere to the vanity of the status quo. It was only a matter of time before the horror genre would delve into this disconcerting phenomenon and Canadian director Cody Calahan and fellow Canuck writer Chad Archibald (who were both responsible for Fantasia film favorite NeverLost) do so with ease and beat filmmakers to the punch with their tongue-in-cheek, apocalyptic cautionary tale that will surely make waves in the film festival circuit this year.
After being publicly dumped by her boyfriend on the FaceBook clone social network The Social RedRoom, Sam (Mylett) is talked into going to a small New Year’s Eve party by her best friend Mark (Thompson) that is being held by her close friends. What starts out as a fun night full of promise quickly takes an egregious turn when the six friends soon discover through social media that a violent albeit unexplained pandemic is spreading like wildfire in the outside world.
Trapped within the confines of the house, the group feel protected from the chaos outside until they soon learn that it only provided them a false sense of security as one by one, the group suffer from mild nosebleeds to severe hallucinations. However, when the perplexing side effects lead to homicidal tendencies, the surviving members quickly learn that narcissism is not the only epidemic caused by social media they have to worry about.
Shot on a restrained budget, newcomer Calahan is able to create a controlled, sleek and effective look for the film while also managing to regale the audience with well-shot and executed set pieces and gore laden moments and often horror fans will be able to point out certain homages to other beloved horror films in the genre. (Viewers will wince after watching a grisly nod to a famous Fulci moment.)
Although Antisocial is not particularly an original feat of writing, (since films like Halloween 3: Season of The Witch, Kairo and One Missed Call are just a few genre films that have famously showcased technological horror in the past) writer Chad Archibald is once again able to take his passion for writing the horrors of the modern human condition and create a unique contemporary psychological thriller that is fairly relevant in today’s social media-obsessed society.
The well-scribed twist regarding the notion of how the pandemic started is enough to make anybody want to delete their FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram accounts as the fictional and alarming theory is definitely applicable to how we interact online in the real world.
On the downside, the film does feature a fair share of weak performances (which can be forgiven since the characters are mostly archetypal representations typically seen in slasher films) and actors Michelle Mylett and Cody Thompson are the ones that are able to shine past the blood-soaked violence displayed onscreen. Mylett in a particular, who is not only a dead ringer for Danielle Panabaker, also flawlessly embodies the tough as nails persona, virtue, and strength it takes to be a Final Girl. It will come as no surprise if she becomes a known Scream Queen in the Canadian horror scene in the near future.
Overall, Antisocial is a solid Canadian horror film made for the Generation Y crowd and is surely able to crawl under the viewers’ skin as it deals with a frightening concept far too relevant in our self-induced, isolated digital world.
You can catch Antisocial at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival when it premieres on Wednesday, July 31st!
3 1/2 out of 5