Movie Name: Southbound
Studio: The Orchard
Release Date(s): September 16, 2015 (Toronto International Film Festival)/February 5, 2016 (US)
MPAA Rating: R
Two men on the run (Chad Villella and Matt Bettinelli-Olpin) arrive in a small desert town pursued by something they can’t understand or see. Meanwhile, a band called the White Tights led by Sadie (Fabianne Therese), Ava (Hannah Marks), and Kim (Nathalie Love) get the wrong ride when their van breaks down. An accident on a dark highway puts Lucas (Mather Zickel) in a strange position. A man named Danny (David Yow) sets out to rescue his sister Jesse (Tipper Newton)…but Jesse might not want to be rescued. A family vacation turns deadly when masked men attack. The desert can be a dangerous place and all roads lead to hell.
Southbound is an anthology horror film and directed by Radio Silence (“The Way In” and “The Way Out”), Roxanne Benjamin (“Siren”), David Bruckner (“The Accident”), and Patrick Horvath (“Jailbreak”). The movie premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 but received a larger release in 2016. The movie received relatively positive reviews.
Horror anthologies can be some of the best (like Creepshow) or the worst (like Creepshow 3)…it is all about the story choice and presentation. Southbound does a decent job choosing story and the decision to make a more developed wrap-around story also helps the movie.
Often, the wrap-around stories in anthology films aren’t that good. Here, Southbound really doesn’t have a wrap-around storyline because it is the storyline. Most of the stories are interconnected (“The Accident” feels a little less connected than some of the other tales despite being thoroughly tied in). It is sometimes hard to follow the connections and it is a time based storyline…it makes Southbound kind of watchable because it would benefit from a second viewing to determine many of the links and themes.
The cast isn’t anything great nor does it really need to be. If there had been bigger actors in it, it would have over taken the stories and unlike something like Creepshow or an anthology TV series, it isn’t really about the cast.
The movie easily could have been low budget, but it was shot well. I like the effect of the floating ghosts or demons (or whatever they are), but I do wish we had seen more of them and the demons that haunt the land that makes up the world of the movie…they were pretty terrifying and more terrifying than a lot of the actual storylines.
Southbound is a fun horror watch. The movie works like most anthologies in that if you don’t like one story, the next story moves in pretty quick. Though the movie is built like a Moebius strip, I could see another Southbound film come out…and I wouldn’t mind it if it continues to explore the strange and scary world it creates.