FEARNET Movie Review: 'Antisocial'


Some people see a new indie horror flick with a slightly familiar premise and they shriek "rip-off." It's easy to guess that the new indie thriller called Antisocial will be accused of "stealing" from Stephen King's Cell, fine indie flicks like 28 Days Later, Pontypool, and The Signal, and/or countless J-horror flicks in which humanity's over-reliance on technology leads to some truly horrific results. So, no, the Canadian horror offering called Antisocial is not the most original concept you'll come across. It still manages to get some stuff right.

After a suitably mysterious prologue, Antisocial gets underway in pretty standard fashion: a half-dozen college kids are gathered together for a New Years Eve party, only (uh oh) there seems to be a horrific virus spreading through the streets of Ontario. Antisocial takes a little while to build up some steam, but suffice to say that the impending apocalypse is somehow being spread through, you guessed it, social media networks.

At its driest moments, Antisocial is dedicated to scenes in which basic characters simply ramble through exposition, but once those speed bumps are out of the way, this low-budget Canadian export manages to become a strange and occasionally unpredictable combination of slasher flick, "body horror," zombie flick, and sci-fi-style cinematic speculation.

The message of Antisocial -- that our over-reliance on "staying in touch" actually and ironically keeps people apart -- is hardly a new revelation, but it's nice to see another indie horror flick that manages to grab a bunch of old parts from other films and wedge them together with at least a little new glue of its own. Once the astute horror viewer gets done "checklisting" the movies Antisocial reminds them of (like I did back in the first paragraph), they're likely to settle back and enjoy the impressively varied series of visceral horrors that lay waste to our unfortunate college students.

Like most indie horror films from newcomers, Antisocial has a few ripe lines of dialogue and a handful of relatively amateurish performances (although leading lady Michelle Mylett is actually quite good), but if you can get past the fact that the flick is composed of 75% recycled ideas and 25% new ones, you may find that something to like. Originality is often overrated, while presentation counts for a lot, and in that department Antisocial acquits itself rather well.