By Ross Wildish - 15th March 2014
The story: a bunch of teenagers organise a party to see in the New Year. The main character, Sam (Michelle Mylett), has just been dumped publicly on a social network called The Social Redroom. Unable to cope with the humiliation, she decides to delete her account, something that a lot of people are doing nowadays after discovering just how dangerous opening your life up to people can be. In an effort to try and forget about her breakup, Sam decides to join her friend Mark’s party. As we meet the main characters, they are introduced in a montage of shots taken from The Social Redroom. It’s a quirky way to introduce them, but it works nicely with the overall narrative. The story shows a lot of promise, and then the first zombie shows up and it's all thrown out the window.
Okay, not a zombie, but an infected, if we're going to be picky. I started hoping that Antisocial might be something new and different, but it was trying to hide what it really wanted to be; all the time this social networking theme was being built on, it was really just a means to an end. How can we make a zombie film, but a little bit different? How about the infection is spread by social networking! Well, it is different I’ll grant you, but I couldn't help but wonder if the zombie aspect was really necessary. Here, you have the potential to really say something interesting about our dependence on social networking, how insidious it can be, and instead it's just used to instigate a story we've seen hundreds of times.
Don't get me wrong, I love zombie films, and I certainly welcome any that try a new take on the genre. Antisocial had a lot of potential to break new ground, but the story just wasn't taken far enough. Instead, what could have been interesting ideas, feel forced and shoved in to try and support an otherwise generic zombie (infected) film. Once you get past the initial concept, it’s really a fairly simplistic story.
It's a real shame. The other elements of the film aren't bad. The acting is fairly decent all around. It’s easy to sympathise with Sam, as too many young girls have become testament to the dangers of social networking. It is a very real problem, but unfortunately Mylett doesn’t get the chance to fully explore this through Sam. A missed opportunity for sure.
Overall, Antisocial had a great concept but its full potential wasn’t realised. What could have been a gripping tale about the dangers of social networking is just a fairly generic zombie film. It seems like perhaps Antisocial tried to be two different things, and is a little awkward as a result. It’s not a bad film per se, it’s simply a little disappointing to see such a good idea go to waste.
Antisocial is available to buy on UK Blu Ray and DVD April 14th.
Premiering at FanTasia Film Festival 2013 and receiving its European premiere at Frightfest 2013, Antisocial is a horror film made for the social networking generation.
As a human being with a rubbish immune system, the idea of getting some disease that turns me mental or kills me is fairly frightening. I'd like to think that fear is fairly common, because after all, no one likes being ill. Luckily, illness is fairly easy to deal with nowadays with the miracles of modern medicine. But what if an infection was not biological, but technological? Antisocial explores the possibility of our addiction to social networking having deadly consequences.