Strong horror women try to hold together movies that fall apart

If you love your scream queens, Antisocial and Shuttle might get your horror hormones raging. While two totally different subgenres, they both feature leading ladies as the central force taking on the threatening force. But can these tough chicks save the day…and the movies?

ANTISOCIAL (2013)

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Take elements of Disturbing Behavior, The Signal, One Missed Call, Pulse, Quarantine, and Cabin Fever and you have Antisocial. Sounds like the ingredients for an awesome horror flick to me. And it’s pretty darn good…for a while….

You can add this one to your list of movies to watch on New Year’s Eve, since that’s when it takes place. So there’s this college chick who has just been dumped by her man during a video chat and then double dumped by his relationship status on “The Social Red Room,” which is the place to be. So she quits that bitch, deleting her profile.

Antisocial is a social commentary on the age of social networking. I guess you could say it’s a social networking commentary: cyber bullying, vlogging, viral footage, and social network addiction. It’s actually a very good metaphorical concept.

Our main girl goes to a small gathering with some friends and it quickly turns into a nightmare. Something is turning people into raving mad killers! A majority of the movie revolves around this small band of college kids trying to stay safe from the drooling loons outside their door…and trying to contend with the fact that those in their own ranks are starting to show signs of the “infection.”

It’s all scary fun mixed with typical in-fighting, relationship clashes, and a little college melodrama. But then, right near the end, things totally fall apart when the survivors learn from yet another viral video that the only way to stop the infection is to basically give each other lobotomies using a drill. Not only is it totally ridiculous to watch clueless kids drilling away at each other’s brains with no anesthesia—and without killing each other, but the explanation for the “infection” seems to change several times within a 5-minute span. Is it caused by subliminal messages inserted into social media? Is it a tumor in the brain? Is it some sort of gross worm that can be extracted? WTF?

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, a dude who seems to be merely a figment of one character’s infection-induced hallucination magically manifests into a real person who is now being seen by another character.

But I have to admit, the final girl is kickass in the final moments and the movie is left open for a sequel that will have her facing off against former infected who have now come back to life as zombies. So I do hope there’s a sequel.

SHUTTLE (2008)

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On the other hand, I wish Shuttle never existed. Despite being loaded with suspense and tension, it is an insult to the viewer, to the actors, and to the characters they are portraying.

So these two chicks come back from a vacation and decide to take the cheapest shuttle ride offer from the airport in the middle of the night. There’s already one businessman on the shuttle. Meanwhile, two young guys who already had a ride arranged decide instead to hop on the shuttle with the girls because they like them.

The shuttle driver takes a detour into a horrible, desolate part of town, claiming a road is closed. Then they get a flat and one of the guys gets severely hurt trying to help change it. And before long, this group learns the truth—they are being kidnapped. By one man with a gun. One man who is driving the shuttle and leaves them in the back, not tied up. One man who makes repeated stops to send them on errands, out of his sight—in places where they can interact with other human beings while he drives away to take care of other business.

Yeah. There’s a twist that would have thrown a curveball in all five of them bum rushing him while he’s driving, but just like we viewers, the characters would have no knowledge of it until it happened. It makes for two excruciating hours of feeling less and less sorry for these people.

I get it. Characters need to make stupid decisions once in a while in a horror movie in order to establish their predicament. But this is a case of every character knowing without a doubt that they are not going to get out of their predicament alive and, with nothing at all to lose, having endless opportunities to do something about it, but instead doing exactly what they are told over and over and over again.

It gets hard to feel bad for five stupid, pathetic characters with no balls who allow themselves to be victims right up to the downer of an ending. Especially considering their captor is a fricking buffoon who does everything wrong as well.

SPOILER PARAGRAPH BECAUSE I HAVE TO MAKE FUN OF THIS MOVIE: He also seems to be invincible even after getting shot in the head. And if that isn’t laugh-out-loud enough, when the main girl finally realizes she’s going to be sold off as a sex slave and therefore her captor won’t dare damage the goods, she holds a piece of glass up to her face as leverage; let me out of here or I’ll cut myself! Um…if you’re going to get away and he’s not going to get his money anyway, why would he give a fuck if you’re going to cut yourself??? Either way, he can’t let you get away and go to the authorities, leaving him with two options: try to sell defective merchandise or kill you, you dumb bitch.

SPOILERS DONE. Like I said. It is an absolutely insulting script. You know it’s bad when you watch the unfolding of a horrifying premise that is based on a serious issue that happens in real life and you still feel nothing for the characters. However, I must give credit to the fact that one of the most determined to do what it takes to survive early on is the chick who is initially presented as the fun-loving, partying blonde ditz.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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