As the weather begins to get a little frightful across the country, movie theatres are offering up some alternative programming for those looking to avoid the blockbuster fair and maybe support some homegrown talent. Antisocial is a neat and tidy little horror thriller set one New Year’s Eve as our modern need to be constantly connected to one other sparks the outbreak of something truly horrible.
Having a good time and celebrating is the last thing that Sam (Michelle Mylett) wants to do when she reluctantly accepts a New Year’s invite with her friends Mark (Cody Thompson), Jed (Adam Christie), Steve (Romaine Waite), his girlfriend Kaitlin (Ana Alic) and Chad (Ry Barrett). Earlier in the day Sam’s boyfriend Dan (Charlie Hamilton) had broken up with her, in front of an entire network of online friends on a popular social network hub called The Social Redroom. Jed is the type to be inclined to invite the whole world to the party through his computer, and in doing so is the first to see all hell break loose as crazy things start to happen and people inexplicably start to die. As it plays out, they learn more and more as their padlocked safe haven proves to be ineffective as this virus can go anywhere it pleases and turns what has become a comfort for so many people and turned it into their worst nightmare.
Effectively playing up the almost exact opposite of what happens in a horror film when these characters immediately go for their phones and have full signal strength, Antisocial is a fun, locked-in type of horror flick that doesn’t try too hard and maximizes what it can do well. This debut feature from Cody Calahan, working with his writing partner Chad Archibald, have come up with a lean and mean little feature that creates tension not necessarily on what we see, but on what we are told is happening. Calahan effectively engages us in the impending psychological horrors of the story that they are trying to tell rather than dousing in buckets of unnecessary blood.
It’s a well shot film, as the confines of the house are well structured making for a very good looking piece that didn’t fall into the indie trappings of trying to do too much on too small a budget as it never allowed for any questionable visual effects or anything that may have looked cheap to seep on to the screen. Everything we saw had purpose and it all looked pretty damn good as this strong narrative unfolded and kept us engaged with everything that was going on.
The ensemble was solid and Michelle Mylett as Sam filled the shoes of the standard plucky horror heroine quite nicely. The ensemble didn’t necessarily have a lot of acting experience, but steady direction and a solid grasp of the material got them all from A to B along the narrative without too much grief.
All in all, Antisocial is a fresh and solid effort in the world of horror that make me anticipate what else these up and coming Canadian filmmakers might have up their sleeves.
Antisocial is currently playing at the Carlton Cinemas in Toronto.
Rating: ***½ (out of 5 stars)