You know those people who are soooooooo over Facebook? "I just don't get the appeal," they'll say, often in the same conversation wherein they lament not knowing that a friend moved to Greenland, the his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, or that her first grade teacher died.
Look, I understand social networking not working for everybody. Twitter and I are basically living separate lives, with me checking in once every few days to see if I left my jacket there. There's nothing necessarily life-changing about seeing pictures of your friend's new kitten in real time or ignoring the upteenth invitation to crush candy. And sure, privacy and information hacks and yadda yadda. These are valid reasons not to book the face. For me though, I just can't stand the "I'm above all of this" attitude that some sworn Luddites wield. The "I'm not SAYING I'm cool, but I know that you know that I'm clearly superior for not 'liking' something with my finger" people.
Then I see Antisocial and think, "oh yeah, maybe the fact that social networking might turn us all into zombies with exploding heads is a good reason to stick to sending letters."
Quick Plot: A neat little opening introduces a pair of typical teenagers video blogging about their recent mall conquest. Before you can ask if Megan Is Missing, one of the girls begins to bleed, quickly turning violent on the other.
It's a nice way to start a film.
Moving back to normal university life, Sam is a pretty college student who learns the hard way (social media) that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. She moodily attends her platonic BFF Mark's low-key New Year's Eve party along with your typical horror movie party guests: the hot couple Steve and Kaitlin and somewhat nerdy Jed.
Selfies and beer toasts commence, intermixed with the group checking in on The Social Redroom, aka Facebook Without the Legal Risks of Being Sued. The party is soon pooped by a few quick invasions as 28 Days Later-ish strangers attempt to crash. News reports reveal this is a worldwide epidemic, with such cases being reported without explanation across all seven continents (six if you're European).
We as the audience piece things together before our not quite as bright characters. Turns out, The Social Redroom is sending out some sort of Pulse-like signal to anyone who accesses it on a phone or computer. The infected begins to hallucinate, then bleeds from his or her ears and nose, and finally, turns violent. It's like getting your email hacked, only kind of way worse.
Sam & Co. struggle with your typical problems that arise with outbreak: whether to let an infected friend in, what to do when one of them shows symptoms, and how much of what they see online can be believed.
Antisocial has, like so many modern genre films on Instant Watch, kind of crappy cover art.
Get past that, get past the 'yes, this is another super attractive young people in peril premise,' and you're left with a surprisingly well-made little horror film. First time director Cody Calahan displays some strong instincts in his choices. The film looks and sounds quite good, with the gore carefully shot in not-annoying darkness and never, despite a head drilling, feeling overly gratuitous. The script (co-written by Calahan and Chad Archibald) manages to avoid the danger of so many 'young people and their cell phones' movies because it actually understand millennials and how they talk. It may be dated in five or ten years, but for a film about the current age made in 2013, it’s sharp.
Found footage and cell phone video can be an easy (and often, annoying) trick abused in modern (and budget) horror. Antisocial finds the right way to weave these in quite effectively
Still, pretty people in peril...why are they always so dull and pretty?
DIY brain surgery is not nearly as difficult as it sounds
It is equally important to board up the top floor window as it is the ground level, because social network zombified maniacs can apparently jump really high
Christmas lights are not very effective in restraining social network zombified maniacs
I wasn't expecting much from a first-time director making a horror movie about Facebook (basically), but I was quite impressed with Antisocial. It's paced well, strongly shot, and fairly original. Sure, we've seen our share of sieges, alternative zombies, and evil technology, but Antisocial finds a strong, current angle and plays it out well. Queue it up on Instant Watch for a pretty decent time.