STARRING: MATT BETTINELLI-OLPIN; CHAD VILLELLA; FABIANNE THERESE
DIRECTED BY: ROXANNE BENJAMIN; DAVID BRUCKNER; PATRICK HORVATH; RADIO SILENCE
AMovieGuy.com's RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
Southbound continues a steady streak of anthology horror films that have arrived in the past few years. Only this time, we have a well thought out film of five intertwined segments, located on a lost and lonesome highway, where the deepest secrets of the characters becomes a never ending hell. It is a creepy and psychologically twisted weave of scares, and the first must-see horror movie of 2016.
The films first segment is titled The Way Out, directed by the writing team of Radio Silence. A voice echos from the radio, which will be the soundtrack of each segment (similar to American Graffiti). The two men in the car are sweating, dried blood on their faces and neck. They arrive to a dirty deserted gas station. It is not entirely clear what has just occurred, but these guys are constantly looking back at a floating ominous figure that stalks them. Leaving the gas station becomes difficult, as they arrive at the same place in a continuous loop. The theme of living in purgatory sets the tone, as the figures leave a lasting impression on the two men as they try to escape.
Next, we are introduced to a group of three woman in a segment called Siren. They become victims to a typical horror movie flat tire, leaving them stranded on the side of the road. When a couple in an old station wagon arrive, like a blast from the past, the segment directed by Roxanne Benjamin does an excellent job of setting up the conflict of risking it by staying put, or accepting the help of a creepy couple locked in the 1970's. Of course, the rotting meatloaf dinner served will make two of the ladies sick, leaving Sadie (Fabianne Therese) running from a group of satanic worshipers.
This anthology uniquely blends parts of each segment into the next that follow. In Accident, directed by David Bruckner, which is by far the best of the bunch, the lone woman escaping from the cult is suddenly struck by a car in the middle of the road. After a 911 call, the driver realizes he is miles away from a hospital with nobody around. He arrives at an abandoned hospital, so he must be coached over the phone by the operator to save the woman's life. It is a torturous, twisted, procedure of bloody-good horror filmmaking. It is not only nerve wracking, but also the one that stays with you long after.
The next short is Jailbreak, which follows a man (David Yow) who is looking for his sister at a hole-in-the-wall bar. He stumbles upon a group of barflies whose bark and bite will make him wish he never went looking for her in the first place. There is an air of mystery to the film, directed by Patrick Horvath, that will leave the audience salivating for something more, but also a glimpse of some mean clawed people.
Finally, the film ends with Radio Silence's wrap around finale-The Way In. A family of three makes a stop to a summer home, which turns into a violent home invasion. That may seem like a horrific, straight forward segment (like the Adam Wingard film-You're Next), but it is also the one story that will leave the audience conversing about its meaning, even after the lights go up.
This all makes Southbound a must-see anthology film for anyone who loves these types of movies. I was a fan of others, such as V/H/S and last year's surprise Tales of Halloween, but this is much better than both of those. It is not found footage, or paying a tribute to the 80's horror genre. It is a film that stands on it's own, touching on themes such as living with regret, being haunted by our sins, and the demons that can get us at night. Southbound is a direction I recommend you take.
See SOUTHBOUND in theaters 2/5 & on @iTunesMovies and On Demand 2/9. Pre-order it now!
Written by: Leo Brady