Fantasia Fest 2015: Antisocial 2 (2015) & What Doesn’t Kill You (Short 2014)

Back to back Black Fawn Films! Yay!

I’m going to level with you on this one.  Antisocial 2 was one that I was pretty much debating to see.  Mostly because the time was bad like I would need to see if I could arrange work schedules and what not.  But, I did manage after a few later nights at work.  Antisocial wasn’t exactly a mindblowing experience.  You can see my review HERE!  But while some may not have liked it much, I thought it was decent plus the ending was absolutely great.  The sequel had the possibility of being amazing.   I was a little baffled why Antisocial 2 would have their world premiere in Fantasia because it does kind of limit your audience.  But still, I was there 🙂

Before the movie started, it was opened with a short called What Doesn’t Kill You.

What Doesn't Kill You

After dying in a horrific car crash, two bullied teens reappear completely healed and must decide the fate of their paralyzed friend.-IMDB

This was a really good short.  The young actors here are quite familiar although I can’t pinpoint where I saw them initially, and they are very good.  The story was great and the whole premise of it was intriguing.

Now for the main feature…

Antisocial 2 (2015)

World premiere

Antisocial 2

Director: Cody Calahan

Cast: Michelle Mylette, Josette Halpert, Stephen Bogaert, Samuel Faraci, Jake Michaels, Kassandra Santos, Kristina Nicoll

A few months after the Redroom virus takes over the world, Sam is on the run and pregnant.  After meeting a lady, she gives birth and her baby is taken away from her.  Three years later (I think), she is trying to track down where her child is while trying to avoid being killed by the infected and now the normal people who regard people who had done the surgery early on to stop the virus as Defects and also want to get rid of them. When she runs into a little girl called Bean, her father orders the return and captures and tortures her in hopes of finding a cure through her believing that she is special.  All this however has a time limit. The Redroom Virus is having an update and Sam must escape as the facility hopes to find the cure before it reaches 100%.

Antisocial 2

I needed these few days to kind of put Antisocial 2 into perspective.  So let’s start from the beginning.  Expectations…you really shouldn’t have those going into movies.  What I expected from Antisocial 2 was a zombie apocalypse movie.  What I got was a drama/virus apocalypse movie with a little bit of zombies and a lot of talking.  I mean, I like talking.  I love movies that get all talky and psychological and crazy and all that stuff.  I gobble that stuff up.  I guess what bothers me is that Antisocial 2 didn’t feel like a horror.  Or like its  generously 50% horror. The first act had a few very effective jump scares and there was a decent amount of zombies.  They were done well. The second act of Antisocial 2 is where it drags out a bit.  It goes into this facility, trying to find a cure, knowing the Redroom virus a little more. Its a lot of talk between Bean’s dad, Max and Sam and these ominous scenes in the background while torture and whatnot goes on.  It gets a little dramatic more than scary even if the Redroom virus is slowly getting more revealed and the whole reasoning of threats and what makes Sam so special. The third act is when things amp up a  little more.  While its not exactly in the horror zone, there is more blood and it picks up the intensity for the final scene that adds a little twist to things and makes you contemplate what that ending was about.  The movie ended at 7pm but I think I made sense of it when I was in line waiting to get in for Dark Places later that night.

Antisocial 2

Is Antisocial 2 a bad movie? No. Its not.  It may be decently average. Its a little disappointing because of the direction it took.  In its defense, I get the approach to let us use another angle to tackle this movie, not what the expectations would be and let us get to know the virus and build a story with it.  The story works for the most part but the middle was just so slow that it was a little boring.  The story was good.  It was really the execution of it that I questioned a little.  Even the atmosphere works well for the most part making it mysterious and setting up questions. Especially related to the scene below 😉

Antisocial 2

Antisocial 2 does have pros despite looking like I’m ragging on it a lot.  The characters and the cast.  Michelle Mylett is fantastic resuming her role as Sam.  She is a complete badass just like we left her at the end of Antisocial.  Bean, played by Josette Halpert is also a nice young character that steps in and she brings in a nice dynamic to the story.  While our obvious bad guy is Bean’s dad, Max (played by Stephen Bogaert) is despicably villainous and you just can’t help to hate this character (as you are meant to).  I wanted to punch Max in the face a lot. His intentions were noble (I guess) because he really just wants to protect the few “normal” people still alive in the world and find the cure but the means and the ethics behind his decisions are horrible. This cast is simply awesome.  Mostly because of them, the story is carried well.

 Overall, Antisocial 2 didn’t quite go in the direction of my expectations and the second act does fall flat because it gets a little wordy and drags out but the opening and finale is done well.  It has some nice jump scares and the cast is very great at bringing the characters alive and carry the story.  Although I didn’t dive into a lot of detail, there are some very well done scenes that kept Antisocial 2 going.  If the ending suggests a third one, I do wonder what direction it will take.  I would look forward to it with an open mind.  My suggestion: if you did enjoy Antisocial, is to give this a go but toss out those expectations and let Cody Calahan take you on a very different approach to the sequel 😉

Horror Double Feature: Antisocial (2013) & You’re Next (2011)

Its been a while I haven’t done a double feature and these two movies probably deserve their own post but movie review backlog has kind of grown and there’s a ton that I wanted to do a write-up on and I haven’t.  Plus, Fantasia is only a few weeks away (really right around the corner) and I’m trying to not review too much because I just get tired and not want to do it.  Consider this a little break but also a little exercise on reviewing horror since I haven’t done it in a little while.

Let’s check out these two: Antisocial and You’re Next! 🙂

Antisocial (2013)


Director: Cody Calahan

Cast: Michelle Mylett, Cody Thompson, Adam Christie, Ana Alic, Romaine Waite, Ry Barrett

On New Year’s Eve, a mysterious epidemic sweeps the world.  Five friends who get together for a house party end up caught in the mess and locked inside. As they research the virus on their phones and laptops, they slowly turn from being paranoid to downright scared.  At the same time, the questions loom as they wonder who is hiding something, who is sick and what do they do next? Will they survive?

Ever since Fantasia Film Fest 2013, Antisocial has been on my radar.  I missed it because it had a 4pm showing on a weekday (if I remember correctly) so work took priority as it also overlaps one of the busiest times of the year for work.  Regardless, I grabbed a copy of it some time last year and have been meaning to watch it.  Finally, with my fiance on vacation, I got him to sit down and watch some horror with me (well, these two I’m reviewing).


This is how it starts…

For the most part, I enjoyed Antisocial.  The acting and dialogue isn’t exactly great but then a lot of low budget movies usually aren’t.  Some ideas, especially the ending is kind of Resident Evil-esque where as the whole set up has that eerie Pulse sort of feeling to it.  I think until the whole idea of where the virus came from, it was pretty good.  It makes a statement about social media and the control it has on our lives while mixing in the “zombie/apocalpyse” genre and for the most part, it works.


Sure, this is still focused on college students so there’s a ton of things you’d expect from some silly dialogue to inappropriate reactions but in general, I really enjoyed it quite a bit.  The lead, Michelle Mylett played her role really well.  And what I appreciated more than that was the whole build-up and especially how the shots were framed.  I never ever talk about this but I liked the whole atmosphere of it and what they were trying to do here.

My only issue was that I didn’t quite buy the explanation of how the virus works but then that ending (even if it felt a little overused) was a great set-up for a potentially better sequel and we’re getting one that will be released for Fantasia Festival (which I’m going to see) this year. There’s a lot of pretty negative reviews but I don’t agree with the majority of it.  Maybe I’m weird… Its not a masterpiece. Hell no, so don’t start biting my head off if you hated this but I enjoyed it.

Have you seen Antisocial? What did you think of it?

You’re Next (2011)

you're next

Director: Adam Wingard

Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg, Amy Seimetz, Ti West, Rob Moran, Barbara Compton

When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of the victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back. – IMDB

Before we start this review, to justify myself a little, I have seen The Guest.  I just never got around to reviewing it.  But then, why would you need it, right? All of you lovely reviewers have already done a fabulous job of it.  I liked it a lot.  The style, the music and Dan Stevens and Maika Monroe and the atmosphere, everything was done really well.  So, when it came time that I saw You’re Next on sale shortly after I saw The Guest, I picked it up.  My only issue: as much as a lot of you think The Strangers was a great movie.  That movie ruined home invasion movies for me.  What works for the first half doesn’t when it starts feeling repetitive and that ending was horrible.  BUT, we’re not here for The Strangers and that is the closest I will come to watching/reviewing that one again.  Point is, I get a little nervous when it comes to home invasion movies because they can be boring and dragged out.  So here I am, hoping that You’re Next lives up to the hype that its got. If it has a fraction of The Guest’s style and atmosphere, we’re in for an awesome ride already 😉

you're next


Man, I ramble a lot. You’re Next is a neat little film.  I’m still not so sure whether the masks creeped me out, because I don’t think it did but the first half of the story building for that plot twist was really good.  It was predictable but I took the bait and still got all tensed up in a few scenes.  What makes home invasions effective (for me) are the unknown and unpredictability and here, you don’t know much about these animal masked invaders.  Not that this house had any peace as is since the family had obvious problems already.  Whats nice about You’re Next is the story.  This family has layers and layers.  They each have their issues and their personalities all make up for the choices they make as they approach this group of invaders who have an intricate plan.

you're next

I always wonder why invasions usually have 3 person team.  I just wonder if that structure works the best.  Or did this one have four? Man, I’m getting confused but You’re Next is pretty good and the plot itself is quite creative.  The best part is that our main character here, Erin, played by Sharni Vinson is super badass.  I mean, it really came out of nowhere.  It mixed a good bit of blood and gore with some creepy atmospheric moments that just sent a few chills down my spine.  Plus, there’s always something going on and it keeps the whole tense movie experience going and that worked effectively for this one.

You’re Next is definitely a good little horror and revives my interest in home invasion horror all over again 🙂

Have you seen You’re Next? Likes/dislikes?

Fantasia Film Festival 2014: The Drownsman (2014) & Picket (short 2014)

I personally think that if you go to Fantasia Film Festival and skip out on horror genre, which probably takes up a good portion of the film selections, you really are missing out.  Sometimes, you find all sorts of gems here.  I know I did.  One of my most anticipated one and probably one that the trailer scared me a whole lot was The Drownsman.  The trailer was so creepy that I didn’t even finishing watching it.  However, my boyfriend did and since he was going to go with me, he told me that it looked great so I bought the tickets to see the World Premiere of this.

The Drownsman is from the director of last year’s rather popular selection Antisocial, which I did not get a chance to see because it was at this weird 4pm showing or something and I couldn’t get off work.  I did end up buying the movie recently and trying to find time to give it a viewing.

Before The Drownsman, we had a 5 minute short to start called The Picket, directed, written and produced by Izzy Lee.


Its a 5 minute short about a church cult leader going to make a deal to be met with a surprise. I don’t really have much to say about it since its so short.  The surprise was a bit funny, but they did built up the tension pretty well.  Good use of background music/effects 😉

Going on to the main feature, lets start with a little synopsis!

the drownsmanDirector: Chad Archibald

Cast: Michelle Mylett, Caroline Korycki, Gemma Bird Matheson, Sydney Kondruss, Clare Bastable, Ry Barrett

Madison (Michelle Mylett) goes through an accident that causes her to have a sudden hydrophobia.  This phobia intensifies when she keeps having nightmares of seeing a mysterious and creepy man capturing and drowning women.  It also causes her to trap herself in her own house and avoid all means of water including rain and the like, hindering her everyday life.  After her go through this torture for an entire year, her best friends decide to have an intervention and decides to reach out to this possibly dead man’s spirit to resolve the issues and end the haunting.  Except they end up waking up something worse than they ever could imagine or even believe existed in the first place.

the drownsman

The Drownsman aims to give us the next creepy man that the 80s horror gave us from Freddy, Jason and Michael Myers.  At least, thats what I got from Chad Archibald during the Q&A.  There is no doubt that he does a good job at building up the creepy appearance of The Drownsman.  That man is all creepy as we are kept in the dark as to what this man looks like.  You remember, The Ring, how we never knew what Samara looks like after her crawling out of the well until that moment.  Then we get the chilling factor of what she looks like.  We’re on that sort of level right here.  The Drownsman had a good few effective scares and even though this was low budget (and the director talks about that over and over again), I appreciated the effort that was put into this.  Listening to the passion put into this movie from him and his crew, it really adds some value and meaning to a movie.  Through and through, this is a passion project. One with a lot of water!

The Drownsman

The Drownsman held a good cast.  I liked the girls that played each role as they created a balance to each other personality-wise.  There was a friendship thing going on and the story behind it was pretty legit relating to Madison and these nightmares that haunt her.  The whole thing is done well.  The guy who gets all heavily made up to be The Drownsman didn’t have much to say but he was pretty creepy in my books (but then my getting scared is really not saying a lot). What helped this movie was setting the most eerie atmosphere and the location set for the actual place where The Drownsman was intense.  The good use of darkness, sudden thrills and eerie music really built up the perfect mood.

The Drownsman

After everything that worked, there’s just one thing that didn’t work too well for me.  Its really two things but its linked to each other.  That has to do with the continuity and repetitiveness of how the story is carried out.  The Drownsman is not a very long movie for starters and in many cases, that is a good thing, even a great thing because you get straight to the point and there’s no lingering.  Except, in this case, I might have wanted some lingering.  The scenes were very choppy from one to the next and the whole thing of how the girls get caught up in being haunted by The Drownsman starts getting really predictable because it just cuts from one to the next then to the next event.  There was nothing to link it and it seemed to be rushed a little.  So all in all, this all comes down to how I would have liked to see a better execution.  Maybe there was a little bit too many scenes cut during the editing process.  I really don’t know.  The director did say during the Q&A that there are whole lot of scenes cut from the original and thats available to see when you order the movie online when its available at some site.  I need to review the recording of the Q&A to check that out. Now, that has me intrigued and I’m definitely going to try and get my hands on a copy of that whenever it comes out 🙂

the drownsman

Overall, The Drownsman is a decent horror flick.  They have great cinematography, music, effects and a potentially great horror boogeyman for the new generation.  The only issue was the execution and perhaps editing too much out of what could’ve been a story that flowed slightly better with less repetitions.  Still, some parts caught me at the edge of my seat.  The cast is fantastic and you can tell that everyone involved was wildly passionate about this movie from start to finish.  Although parts of the middle chunk isn’t quite as effective, the beginning built up the mood pretty well and ending 20 minutes was totally awesome! 🙂 The premise and concept was great but it still misses the mark by , however, there was only the little bits in the middle that bothered me so I’d say that its worth a shot!

Have you heard of The Drownsman? Seen the trailer perhaps? What do you think of it? Would you want to go see this?