If You Like Horror Anthologies, I Recommend You Watch Southbound

“Five interlocking tales of terror follow the fates of a group of weary travelers who confront their worst nightmares – and darkest secrets – over one long night on a desolate stretch of desert highway.” – IMDb

*SPOILERS*

Horror anthologies are some of my favorites. I love how they’re basically a bunch of short films combined into one. Sometimes they’re all connected and sometimes they’re not. Southbound re-creates the genre in a way and somehow feels entirely unique. Each segment seamlessly connects into one whole story.

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Segment 1 – The Way Out

Director, Radio Silence

We follow two guys, who are on the run from something with weird creatures flying around. One of the guys stares at a photo of his daughter, assuming something bad happened to her. The guys try and keep driving, but are stuck in some loop and keep ending up at the same gas station. One of the guys enters a motel in the search for his daughter. He keeps hearing her voice and seeing her, but he can’t get to her. To me, this was the weakest of the segments. The writing and the acting was just not for me. There were some cool visuals and I enjoyed the creature design. I also enjoyed the “hell” feeling when the guys is stuck in the motel. It seemed like he was stuck in his own hell, as he couldn’t find his daughter. I’m just glad the first segment didn’t deter me from the rest of the movie.

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Segment 2 – Siren

Director, Roxanne Benjamin

In the same motel, we meet three girls. They leave the motel and head to a band gig. Their van breaks down and as you can imagine, nothing good can come from that. You could just sense how isolate and desolate these girls felt. There was nothing for miles. Until they get picked up by this unusual couple. They were perfectly nice and seemed like they could be helpful. But you could tell right away that something wasn’t right about them. Things started to escalate pretty quickly from here on out. Even though you knew these people were bad, some of the things still shocked me. I wasn’t expecting the family to be in a cult. The main girl, Sadie runs into the run to stop a car for help, which ends up hitting her. This was of my favorite segments. It had a very twilight-zone feel to it.

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Segment 3 – Accident

Director, David Bruckner

David Bruckner was one of the reasons I watched this in the first place. I’ve seen a few other things that he directed, which I loved. He did The Ritual and a segment from V/H/S. Sadie is hit my a man named Lucas. Lucas immediately phones the police and is instructed to drive her to a hospital. The only problem is, is that no one’s at the hospital. In fact, the whole town seems abandoned. After Lucas tries to save Sadie’s life, she dies. Something I like about movies is something I call the “Hitchcock Effect”. It’s when a main character, someone you anticipate to survive throughout the film, dies. I didn’t think Sadie was going to die. She had all (most of) the qualities of a final girl. Although it’s still weird that there’s absolutely no one around. Even the people helping him on the phone are strange. He is instructed to leave Sadie’s body and leave the town. I could definitely see Bruckner’s directing in this segment. It’s amazing how suspenseful you can make something with just two (basically one) characters.

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Segment 4 – Jailbreak

Director, Patrick Horvath

The girl who was on the phone with Lucas, Sandy watches him drive away. She’s clearly not an cop or EMT, and heads straight to a bar. The bar-goers seem to frequent there a lot, and are also acting strange. This also already feels like a Twilight Zone episode. This man, Danny barges in demanding to know where his sister is. We quickly find out that these bar-goers are actually some kind of demon. Danny finds out that his sister is a demon herself, who gives tattoos to other demons in the back room of an ice cream parlor. I love this episode because it’s eerie. There’s something intriguing, yet terrifying about a town in the middle of nowhere, inhabited by demons. I would love to see a feature film of this. It had From Duck till Dawn vibes which was great. To me this was the scariest segment.

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Segment 5 – The Way In

Director, Radio Silence

The segment to end it all. Or is it? This one’s about a family, in which Jem, is going off to college. Conveniently, Jem and her parents are eating the same ice cream parlor, to where to demons are hanging out. Although the two stories aren’t related, which is what I love about how this film is constructed. The family heads back to a house, and there begins the home invasion. Strangers break into their home and are threatening the parents. The strangers tell the parents, “eye for an eye”. You don’t know exactly what happened, except for the Dad had something to do with a little girls death. The intruders are the same guys from the beginning and that’s where everything comes in full circle. We follow the guys to where the beginning of the film took place, like a loop. This segment was creepy for the fact that it’s realistic. We never find out what the Dad did to that little girl. But the fact she was missing, and he was keeping it hidden from his wife and daughter was disturbing. He seemed like a nice guy throughout. I liked how it connected to the beginning though.

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I had a great time with this film. It had all of the characteristics of an anthology, and more. What really sold it for me, was the structure in which every story lived at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like it before. As the viewer, we know what’s going on all around. But each character is limited to their segment. It’s fun to think about if these characters overlapped in different stories.

Watch the trailer!

RATING – 8/10

 

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