Antisocial is middle-of-the-road fare, which I’m sure director/co-writer Cody Calahan doesn’t want to hear.
He wants his film to act as a commentary for how immersed we are with technology and social media. In order to drive home the social satire, he and co-writer Chad Archibald use networking devices as a means to drag the living to a state of infection. Tech junkies start to hallucinate and graphically bleed out of the ears and nose until they fall into a deathly trance.
It all sounds unsubtly heavy-handed – it is. If there’s anything flat-out wrong with Antisocial, it’s how frequently the script hammers in its underlining messages and how openly the writers make their characters reflect. Calahan’s horror wants to be a Twilight Zone episode with a brain, but ends up coming off as a gory after school special.
It’s unfortunate because Calahan and Archibald’s screenplay touches upon an interesting life-or-death dilemma. Because our team of horror movie stock characters are barred inside their own house away from the infectious take over, their only want to gather information is through the Internet. In order to find a solution, they must expose themselves to the danger itself. I can’t fully tip my hat to Antisocial, but I can at least appreciate and respect that there are two fiends behind-the-scenes trying to show creativity through the film’s expected normalities and potential plot holes.
Antisocial is basically Bruce McDonald’s excellent Pontypool repackaged as a pilot for a television show that would have a syndicated run on a teen-centric station. As much as that sounds like a travesty, it’s not.
The soft and shadowy cinematography makes Antisocial stand out, as well as its capibility to make the audience feel trapped in extreme danger. It’s a style that matches the film’s initial party going attitude and is then able to introduce new grim nods with ease into the carefree environment. The acting isn’t half bad either, despite movie goers knowing these roles inside and out as soon as the cast grace the screen.
I’m indifferent towards Antisocial. It managed to keep up its jaunty energy with some good scares and Calahan filled his gore quota with cringing, gnarly results. But, I’m not feeling as thrilled about it as I should be because of the film’s inability to reel back on its assertive subtext. And, when the film hits those dry spots of pure exposition, we feel it – big time.
Again, I have a feeling this neutral feedback is going to stick in Calahan’s craw. He was a filmmaker wanting to entice me with cleverness and instead got a passive “not too shabby” shoulder shrug. Perhaps, he’ll have better luck next time. For now, I’ll stay positive and be happy with what Antisocial gave me – a sack full of grisly noggins.