There is no style present, so the actors are just bumbling and flailing about the screen, which is amusing, but probably not for the reasons the filmmakers intended. The acting does not help, with Richardson making for a very dull, uninspired lead. This is, without a doubt, the worst segment.
Chapter 4 is Hack Man, which stars Robert J. Morgalo as the titular killer. A reporter (Jackson Anse), maybe he’s a lawyer, it was not clear, comes to talk to him about his brutal murders. Cutting between the conversation and flashbacks to the killings, highlight just how dangerous this man is.
Hack Man is great all the way around. The lead actors embody their characters wonderfully, with Morgalo being genuinely frightening as this mad killer. The flashbacks build up the tension, as it teases that maybe this reporter might be in greater danger than he believes. It is filled with a creepy, intense atmosphere that was lacking in other segments.
“…the individual segments are quite the mixed bag…”
So the individual segments are quite the mixed bag, but does Socio feel like a cohesive whole? Not entirely. There is no wraparound, so a story just fades to black, and the next one begins. The idea that all of these are connected not via characters, demons, or some such, but all revolving around different antisocial people with psychopathic tendencies is intriguing. But, at the end of it all, what are Goode and Muhammad saying about sociopaths?
Who knows? They only vaguely get beyond the surface level actions attributed to the sociopath of each segment, so the anthology does not seem to be saying much. Therefore, it is a disappointment on the thematic level as well, as the film passively observes the brutal action but never explores why someone would do that.
The biggest culprit is Muhammad’s direction, which lacks flair or atmosphere. While he does not allow the camera just to sit there without any movement, he fails to imbue Socio with a sense of atmosphere or momentum. Excluding a few moments or scenes, the movie does not make all of its sound and fury meaning anything. The viewer watches one story after another, blankly staring at the screen, neither engaging nor flinching away, just passively letting it wash over them. Not a good sign.
Is Socio terrible? No, it has a wonderful idea at its core, most of the cast do what they can, and the movie, at 65-minutes long, does not overstay its welcome. But, the segments are of such wildly divergent quality, despite all being directed by one person, that it is a discombobulating watch. Plus, the sections don’t gel together naturally, and the lack of style and atmosphere means there is nothing to grasp while watching the movie. Skip it, and check out Nightmare Cinema or Scare Package instead.
"…fails to imbue Socio with a sense of atmosphere or momentum."