Directed by Cody Calahan
Distributed by Monster Pictures
Five college friends get together for a pumping New Year’s Eve house party only to find themselves caught in the middle of a zombie/rage virus-like societal meltdown in debut feature director Cody Calahan’s Antisocial. Serving to elevate interest in Antisocial beyond the usual dime-a-dozen indie zombie flicks (whether that be the slow or fast type) is the central notion of how this particular plague spreads: a Facebook-style social media website called ‘The Social RedRoom’.
Having barricaded themselves in the house after an attack from an infected person making their way in through a window, the group manages to secure links with some friends on the outside in order to get a full picture of just what is going on out there – and it isn’t pretty. Amongst the group, infections begin to occur before the realisation of just how the virus is getting in comes about, leading to some of the film’s better sequences as the infected suffer increasingly disturbing hallucinations announcing the contagion taking hold of their brain. Soon after, they of course become the standard 28 Days Later-esque snarling rage monster, determined to mash the skulls of any nearby uninfected individuals.
And so the story plays out much as one could expect it to as the numbers dwindle and survivors try to keep their heads while others lose theirs. Regardless of the clear sense of familiarity, for a first-time director Calahan certainly has a strong grip on presenting impactful, pulse-raising action and, thankfully, isn’t shy of giving up the gory goods either. The characters here are relatively thinly drawn, but it’s a good testament to the strengths of the cast that, for the most part, each manages to draw something more from their roles than what is necessarily available on paper. Strangely, lead Mylett as heroine Sam is given the role most fully developed by the narrative, yet she’s also one of the least interesting inhabitants of Antisocial‘s world. Stealing the show are Ana Alic and Romaine Waite as Kaitlin and Steve, respectively, playing a believable young couple with genuine shock and horror in their reactions to events. Adam Christie also shines as logically thinking, nerdy Jed – the frightened, yet straight-thinking and composed member of the group who catches on to just what’s happening far before the rest.
It isn’t all good, however, as the film suffers from a number of pacing issues and, most crucially, pulls a few very interesting ideas out of the bag far, far too late in the game. Just when it seems to be opening doors leading to something far more original and fascinating than we’ve been dealing with for the majority of the runtime, with impromptu drill-based brain surgery and a seemingly more insidious, supernatural link between ‘The Social RedRoom’ and its victims, the story comes to a close. If anything, all it does is frustrate – magnifying the overwhelmingly familiar nature of everything that came before.
Antisocial seems to be spending most of its time winding up for the major punch to come in the final act, only to lose its balance due to spinning in place for too long and go stumbling wildly off-target, crashing through the nearest window and lying there, whimpering, while everyone watching voices their disappointment with a single “What?” Ultimately, the unique idea behind the infection’s vector alone isn’t enough to fully warrant giving Antisocial an unreserved ‘Like’.
Monster Pictures brings Antisocial to DVD sporting the trailer, a short ‘behind the scenes’ segment that features a nice number of short interviews with key cast and crew, and an audio commentary with Director Cody Calahan and Cinematographer Jeff Maher that makes for a nice listen as the pair drop info on scene construction, lighting, restrictions they had to overcome and even bloopers at a constant rate throughout.
2 1/2 out of 5
3 out of 5