Southbound (2015) – horror anthology review
I came across Southbound by chance, just a few days ago whilst browsing Amazon Prime horror movies (and cursing the new layout that was meant to make things more ‘user friendly’ for me).
I thought it was a pretty cool film though *klaxon* I don’t want to get your hopes up too much. I read a review afterwards where one guy said his expectations were too high after reading so many ‘glowing’ reviews and I think I understood where he was coming from. Southbound was fun and original. It also had that genuine nod to old films that some people – horror fans in particular – get very excited over. But it’s important to still keep in mind that it was a little corny in places, could be a lot better in other places and yes I’m going to say it – sometimes the acting’s dodgy (but whilst I’ve seen better I’ve still seen far worse). Right, negativity gone. But still keep it in mind.
All in all I really enjoyed it. As mentioned in the old sub heading up there it’s an anthology film (which is always good) and has a strong 80s feel (which is also always good). Even the score – composed and recorded by The Gifted – is reminiscent of the golden era of horror, being very synth heavy.
There are five stories in total, intertwined around each other on the same dusty American highway, which is presumably ‘south bound’. Though sadly for the our characters it actually seems to be a shortcut to the depths of hell – and I’m not just being dramatic by saying that because there is a strong hellish and screwed-up-weird-place-vibe going on through-out.
Each story is written and directed by a different person or persons (full list here) and though the atmosphere of the film is generally quite consistent, the different storytellers are still evident as I was reminded of different genres or films. From Grindhouse stuff to Stephen King adaptations to the video game – and movie of – Silent Hill. Each story does lean more heavily towards a particular horror genre and this worked for me very well. There are genuine chills, fingernails-in-hand gory bits and even some fun, campy, retro monsters. Oh yeah, and I think it’s the same bunch of people who made V/H/S as well. But for the record – I preferred Southbound.
The story titles are (I can tell you this much right?) – The Way Out, Siren, The Accident, Jailbreak and The Way In (which has the same writer / director as the first story). I’m not going to say which my favourite was but we’re treated to some cool classic horror situations involving deathly creatures, creepy cults and some really good gore scenes (which at times made me feel quite sick). It’s definitely creepy in places and I never really knew what was going to happen next. One thing I did gather was that this damn ‘Southbound’ place is not somewhere I’d like to go.
So basically for the right viewer it’s a fun, eerie little film and works mostly well throughout. Sadly I think that’s about all I can say about it without giving away too much. In my view pretty much any knowledge about a film plot is too much knowledge about a film plot but I wanted to share it because for a film free to watch on Prime, it felt like a nice little find. Anyone who is a fan of campy or retro, or slightly offbeat horror would enjoy it I’m sure (you know the kind of thing you ‘don’t see much of nowadays’). Yeah it has its flaws and some parts are better (or lamer) than others, but for a modern portmanteau its felt like a very worthy addition to the genre.
You can watch the trailer here –