Anthologies can be tricky, as any individual segment needs to be succinct enough to deliver the goods (traditionally, horror) but feel complete enough so that it’s a satisfying whole. Then, can as a whole entity, the sections need to share a tone, atmosphere, and the like, which is much trickier to maintain than it might seem. Socio, written by Jasmine Goode and Qadir Muhammad, certainly aims high, wanting to showcase various forms of sociopathy across a handful of eerie tales. But, as directed by Muhammad, loses sight of that connective thread, with some stores lasting far too long and others are not nearly long enough.
After the prologue, which sees a woman calling the cops, as someone is in her home trying to kill her, the first chapter is Girl Flu. A young woman (Kenji Butler) is talking to a psychiatrist (Mike Daley) about her recent killings. She woke up one day, feeling ravenous, and only flesh would satiate her. And she recounts the mauling of her boyfriend, and she even ate her pet. The reason behind her newfound hunger is revealed at the very end.
This is a crying shame, as it fails to explain how or why this fate befell this lady, nor is it a strong enough shock to leave the audience in horrific surprise. This chapter is not long enough, and it suffers from some truly atrocious sound design. Butler tries to sell her character’s desperation, but she can only do so much. Since its opening is too long and the ending is rather abrupt, this chapter is a disappointing way to start Socio.
“…wanting to showcase various forms of sociopathy across a handful of eerie tales.”
Radical, the next tale, sees a woman (Shawneka Ponder) kidnapped by two federal agents. One of them (Francisco Joseph) intends to torture her until she confesses that she is a terrorist, while the other agent (Ted McCray) tries to calm his colleague down.
The ending betrays a lot of what this segment is saying about sociopathy and those who seek power. But, last minute aside, this is an overall excellent segment. The main actors all deliver nicely, and the various special effects make-up for the cuts, bruises, and worse that she endures is all well done. It is the exact right length, but again, the ending betrays its own themes.
Next up is the superhero segment, The Adventures Of Super Bul. Super Bul (Seafus Richardson) is a wanna-be vigilante warrior, who inadvertently thwarted a corrupt big pharma deal. Now, the mobsters at the heart of that nefarious plan seek to take out the shockingly resilient man.
Super Bul is approximately 20-minutes long, which is about on par with all the other segments. Why then does this feel like an endless slog? The prologue (the bungled deal) is unnecessary, but even after that, this is just one long fight sequence. And that’d be okay if the choreography was John Wick levels of brilliant, but it’s not. Muhammad keeps the camera far back from the action, so each punch and kick’s intensity is never felt.
"…fails to imbue Socio with a sense of atmosphere or momentum."