Director – Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath
Cast – Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Kristina Pesic, Fabianne Therese, Nathalie Love, Hannah Marks, Dana Gould, Anessa Ramsey, Susan Burke, Davey Johnson, Mather Zickel, David Yow, Tipper Newton, Matt Peters, Maria Olsen, Tyler Tuione, Kate Beahan, Gerald Downey, Hassie Harrison, Tallulah Mounce, Courtney Bandeko, Max Folkman, Nick Folkman, Karina Fontes, Roxanne Benjamin, Damion Stephens, Larry Fessenden
Release Year – 2016
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I gave this a watch after discovering its unofficial association with the V/H/S series as it shares producers, a few directors, and is told in the same anthology format. The five segments center around the ill-fated outcomes of several groups of travelers along one desert highway. They come with some OK gore and decent horror, but the stories were not as engaging for me. The film has some good reviews from a variety of genre and non-genre sources, so maybe I’m the odd one out. Unless, of course, you think like I do.
Southbound opens with “The Way Out”, which is directed by Radio Silence. It follows two men on the run from unexplained creatures. This entry hints at past events that will be explained later (and they are), so it’s a good way to kick things off. I also liked the look of the creatures but not the CGI.
Next up is “Siren, directed by Roxanne Benjamin – a producer for V/H/S, V/H/S2, and Faults. This entry follows a female rock band suffering van trouble on the road. After reluctantly accepting a ride from a quirky older couple, they find themselves facing sinister intentions from a whacky cult.
“Siren” bleeds into “The Accident”, directed by David Bruckner (The Signal, V/H/S). Here we follow a man running over a woman with his car while traveling the desert highway. He does the right thing and calls 911, and when he learns the woman is still alive he must perform emergency surgery as instructed by the operator. Little does he know, you can never be sure of who you are on the phone with. This was the best-directed effort of the film and the most tense. It is also the most straight forward until the final confusing revelation.
“The Accident” bleeds into “Jailbreak”, directed by The Pact 2 auteur Patrick Horvath. Here we follow a man who busts into a bar with a shotgun. This isn’t a robbery, as the patrons assume. No, this man is looking for his sister and he knows the patrons, who are actually demons, know her exact whereabouts. Desperate for answers, he gets them in the worst of ways. I liked the idea of the viewer being kept in the dark over what happened to the man’s sister, and the climax is a haunting one.
The final segment to the film is “The Way In”, directed by Radio Silence. It starts with a family going about their business until three home invaders in creepy masks make their way inside. We learn that a family member is associated with some terrible acts and the family must pay for their crime. The effort ties in with the first entry and closes out the experience with some good horror.
While I was not pleased with the level of CGI used I will say that the direction was pretty good at times. There is good tension here and there and we see some enjoyable deaths occur onscreen. The only thing that holds this effort back is its story. It is downright confusing at times and does not properly keep the viewer “in the dark” during such sequences. With a better and more cohesive storyline this could have been a winner.
Overall, Southbound is a mediocre flick that had a few good moments but not enough of them. This effort is equal parts negative as it is positive, leaving it far from the excellence that was the first two V/H/S films.