2013’s Antisocial garnered somewhat mixed reviews. Personally, I liked it, but knew the film could have achieved much more. It found itself sitting in an unusually balanced mix of the Zombie and Slasher subgenres, but as “good” as it may have been, I doubt there were many die hard Antisocial fans out there banging the drum for a sequel. So color me surprised when news of just that came my way. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that Antisocial 2 marks the 4th film for Black Fawn Films in 2 years. In case you don’t know – that’s fucking ridiculous. So what’s the deal? Are these guys churning out stinkers month after month? Is Antisocial 2 simply a rehash of the 2013 film? No… and no. Black Fawn Films is one of the most exciting genre studios in the space today, and Antisocial 2 is a very, very, different film from the original.
Where the original film was centered around a group of friends trapped in a singular location, Antisocial 2 covers much more ground. We say goodbye to the suburban homes and college campuses and are greeted with a bleak and joyless dystopian landscape. The Social Redroom is still alive and kicking; transforming all who set eyes upon the website into vicious bloodthirsty creatures. The original film’s survivor girl, Sam, is still front and center, and Michelle Mylett is back to reprise the roll. Mylett is a Black Fawn regular at this point, and while her performances are improving, I can’t help but feel as if there is an obvious experience gap between her and the rest of the cast. Or maybe she’s just being portrayed in the wrong light. Scenes where Sam is covered in blood or pleading for mercy feel forced, but the caring dialogue between herself and younger characters such as Bean and Jacob feel much more natural and enjoyable. Mylett has skills, but maybe not “kick-ass survivor girl” skills.
Once the initial plot points are constructed – you begin to realize just how different of an experience this will be from the original. There aren’t waves of “infected” rushing towards innocents, or playful banter being interrupted by a fun kill. Whereas Antisocial was a marriage of the Zombie and Slasher subgenres, Antisocial 2 is more of a relationship between Drama and Sci-fi. And that’s pretty refreshing, but brings along it’s own set of challenges. Cody Calahan is back in the director’s chair, but this is still only his 2nd feature film. Don’t get me wrong, it’s visually impressive, but lacks the polish that we have seen in other Black Fawn Films this year such as Bite or The Drownsman. Is it fair to chop that up to the director? Maybe not, but for a film that covers so much distance and so many events; it still feels relatively small. The coloring in a handful of daylight and dusk scenes feels slightly off, and the limited amount of CGI feels jarring and out of place. The same can be said for countless other indie films, but I’ve grown to expect more from this team in particular.
Should you set aside time to see what comes next in the Antisocial story? Absolutely. This is far and away the better film of the two. Even if the broader scope of the film makes the budgetary constraints more apparent; the characters are better, the camera work is improved, the mystery is deeper, and the journey is intriguing enough to hold your attention. That said, I’m not so sure we should be pressing for the (somewhat obvious) trilogy treatment. I’m not tired of Sam and the Social Redroom yet, and I’d like to keep it that way.
Antisocial 2 [Review]
Should you set aside time to see what comes next in the Antisocial story? Absolutely. This is far and away the better film of the two – even if the broader scope of the sequel makes the budgetary constraints more apparent.