Or, to give it a more suitable alternative title, 28 Likes Later.
This is a film about infection. An infection that turns people into hallucinating, violent maniacs. The infection may be connected with the popular website known as The Social Redroom, which is almost exactly like Facebook, apart from the fact that low-budget film-makers can’t just use Facebook, of course.
Michelle Mylett plays Sam, a young woman who joins some friends for a New Year’s Eve party after breaking up with her boyfriend, and also after deleting herself from The Social Redroom. As the world starts going a bit crazy outside, the group all decide to hole up in their house, to avoid letting anyone else in, and to just wait things out until the situation improves. But they don’t realise just how bad the situation is, or even how the infection spreads.
Directed by Cody Calahan, who also co-wrote the movie with Chad Archibald, Antisocial is a film that almost seems designed to rub some people the wrong way. It’s not that the main premise is that bad, and there are certainly one or two good ideas buried in amongst the cliches, but it’s clear that the makers of the movie think that they’re being bold and fresh, while most of the movie plays out as a selection of moments recycled from better movies. The dark take on our tech-heavy modern life is lifted directly from Kairo (with some imagery feeling directly lifted from it), the infected people being crazy and violent just immediately brings to mind 28 Days Later… and the majority of the film feels like 101 zombie movies that did everything better because they weren’t being distracted by how seemingly clever they were being.
Mylett is okay in the lead role, although she’s not half as good as she should be. Her character requires a strength and presence that she doesn’t have. It’s not that she’s bad, and the fault may lie with the script, but she just never feels like the central character, especially when the likes of Adam Christie and Ana Alic are allowed a number of better moments. The former is the first one to accept the harsh reality of the situation, and act accordingly, while the latter is given a couple of very good scenes at about the halfway point of the movie. Cody Thompson is also a bit weak in the role of Mark, while Romaine Waite is sadly underused as Steve, the other main party guest.
I know that I may sound as if I’m being unduly harsh, but Antisocial doesn’t do enough with what it has. It feels preachy when it doesn’t need to be. Even people, like myself, who spend far too much time online tend to KNOW that we’re spending far too much time online. Modern technology has both brought the world closer together and kept individuals further apart. If you’re going to make a whole horror movie riffing on that message then at least also make it entertaining/fun. This isn’t.
And as for that ending. What was obviously intended to be rousing and intense just ends up being a bit laughable. Nope, it’s not a film I’d recommend.
Antisocial is shared in stores from 14th April. Extras include some trailers, a small featurette (with some spoilers, don’t watch it before the movie) and a commentary track from the director, and the cinematographer (Jeff Maher, who spends most of the movie discussing the lighting). I must say that it seems to have been recorded at a volume just a bit too low. It’s difficult to hear the chat when the movie gets louder, and then turns out to not be worth straining your ears for anyway.
DIRECTOR: CODY CALAHAN
WRITER: CODY CALAHAN, CHAD ARCHIBALD
STARS: MICHELLE MYLETT, CODY THOMPSON, ADAM CHRISTIE, ANA ALIC, ROMAINE WAITE, RY BARRETT
RUNTIME: 90 MINS APPROX