• Review: Southbound (2015)

    From Mark R. Leeper@21:1/5 to All on Thu Jun 23 15:21:40 2016
    (a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

    CAPSULE: A powerful variation on the multi-story film.
    SOUTHBOUND is five horrific stories, each of which fades
    into the next. Some of the story types are familiar,
    some new. All take place along or around a nearly empty
    California highway without a number. Six writers, four
    of whom direct the film, give us a well-made and weird
    horror film. Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10

    SOUTHBOUND opens in the middle of a story already in progress. Two
    men splattered with blood are driving down an empty highway
    apparently haunted by what look like black rags that seem to be
    hanging from the sky. When we get a better look at them we see
    that they are hellish demons who seemingly come out of the ground.
    As we watch the story we suddenly realize that the characters have
    changed and there was a smooth transition to the second film
    without us realizing it. Soon it becomes clear that each story
    will smoothly pass the baton to the story that follows it. One
    story after another goes by, and most are creepy as all get-out.
    There is little explained about the stories and somehow that makes
    them all the scarier. One family eats unidentified and
    unidentifiable meat that cause pairs of people to synchronize with
    each other. Sometimes the ground cracks open for little reason
    unless it is to create a passageway to Hell. Each story is
    recognizable as a separate story only after it is over.

    Some of the stories at least start in familiar territory. One has
    three girls from a girl jazz band having a tire blowout on the
    seemingly endless road that is common to all the stories. Just in
    time they get an offer of a ride from some seemingly nice people.
    That start has been done many times before, but where the story
    goes is all SOUTHBOUND's own. Another story has a careless driver
    knocking down a pedestrian and having to perform surgery on the
    victim guided by a doctor on a phone connection. Things do not go

    Present in this film are many elements of different sub-genres of
    the horror film. There is the supernatural; there is a monster;
    there are demons; there is a house invasion; devil worshipers show
    up. This film is a Whitman Sampler of sub-genres of the horror

    The same morbid atmosphere continues from story to story which is a
    little surprising since there are different directors for each
    story with Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, and
    someone who chooses to be called "Radio Silence" each directing one
    segment. Each but perhaps the last took a hand in writing the
    film. Hanging over all the stories is a bizarre commentary by a
    radio talk host played by Larry Fessenden.

    This film is the great-grandchild of the old horror anthology films
    (e.g. TALES FROM THE CRYPT) made by Amicus in the 1960s and 1970s).
    But where Amicus created their horror by implication, SOUTHBOUND
    goes straight for the throat (at times literally). It is strong
    stuff and maybe these days a horror film has to be. I rate it a
    low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

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    Mark R. Leeper
    Copyright 2016 Mark R. Leeper

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