Tuesday, September 15, 2015
* spoilers *
Sam's New Year's Eve starts out horribly. Her boyfriend dumps her over text message and blasts it all over The Social Red Room, the social network everyone uses. To forget her problems for a little while, she decides to go to a party her friends are throwing. Then the world goes insane. Earlier, there were a few violent murders in the news, but nothing out of the ordinary. Now, people everywhere are becoming wildly violent. The group of friends is under attack and suspicious of each other. They surf social networks to connect with other survivors, but what is the catalyst for the uncontrolled rage? Can Sam and her group of hapless friends figure it out before it's too late?
I had no idea going in that Antisocial was a zombie film, so it was a nice surprise. The premise is essentially that Facebook (or Red Room) is turning people into zombies. The film is part convention film and part found footage. The beginning credits features a montage of two teenagers getting ready to do a video review of some clothes they bought. Then one of them attacks the other and a series of horrific images follows as they battle it out. I loved these little found footage moments illustrating what's going on outside of the main characters. I actually found the teenagers' story to be more compelling than the college age main characters. When each of the characters is introduced, their Social Red Room profile is flashed across the screen and we can see all the ridiculous and cliche stuff they post on there. Except for Sam and Jed, the other characters are fairly interchangeable and shallow. I don't really care when they start dying and making dumb decisions. Throughout the film, most of the characters are stuck on social networking still. It makes the situation more real for them and shows how many people are dying and losing their minds.
The zombie disease starts with bleeding from the ears and nose. Then the delusions come, typically shown with calls from unknown people, flashes of weirdness on their phones, people encouraging them to attack, and ropy tentacles bursting from various body parts. Then, the infected turns into a rage fueled machine that attacks anyone around it. The afflicted aren't dead and the disease is similar to the one in 28 Days Later. The disease is caused by the Social Red Room. A new update strengthened a subliminal pattern in their website. It was always there to fuel the addiction to the site, but this new one causes all these new symptoms in the form of a tumor. This development also critiques business practices that sell a product, but put their customer base at risk.
Every single person I talked to about this movie asked if it was a documentary, which I found hilarious. A lot of people let social networking negatively affect their real lives and focus way too much on their profiles and online friends rather than what happens in real life. Just look at people tied to their phones in every situation: out with friends, driving, at school, watching a movie, etc. No thought is given whether this use is rude or flat out dangerous. The dark side of social networking also includes cyberbullying and harassment. On the other hand, constant social networking is how the main characters quickly found out something was much worse than a few isolated attacks. They also connected with another survivor, figured out the initial symptoms, and eventually discovered the cause and cure. The message seems to be that social networking is much too prevalent in the typical person's life, but can be very useful in regard to communication and relaying information.
Overall, Antisocial is a decent film. The acting is tolerable. The story is unique and very relevant. The cinematography is on point, particularly the scene with ditzy Caitlin attacking her friends wrapped in Christmas lights. Jed was my favorite character because he was the most realistic. He didn't let his love for his friends get in the way of his survival. It sounds callous, but there was nothing he could do for them. My only problems with the film are the fairly bland and interchangeable characters and Sam's pregnancy. The pregnancy didn't really add anything to the story and seemed out of place. Other than that, Antisocial is a solid zombie film. The sequel comes out later this year and I'm eager to see if it's as good.
My rating: 8/10 fishmuffins