Two blood-stained criminals on the run from a crime they have just committed. A 3-piece girl rock band on tour break down and take refuge with members of a cult. A man trying to find his way home runs over a stranger and tries to save their life with the help of some strange voices. A desperate brother braves a demon infested bar looking for his missing sister. And a family are set upon by a trio of masked intruders out for blood. Watch as these 5 tales weaves together in a web of terror…
What fell short for me about this anthology of 5 interwoven horror stories is that they don’t even fully commit to this concept. Whilst segments such as the cult initiation, the abandoned hospital and the demon bar entwine effectively enough, the home invasion storyline is introduced almost with a shrug. Like a child’s relay race on sports day, “Okay, it’s your turn. Now run!” The characters from the 1st and 2nd narratives don’t even cross paths at all.
Being a fan of the V/H/S series, I wanted to enjoy this movie wholeheartedly. In the case of V/H/S, each chapter had its own strength – not including Ti West’s contribution – but at least you felt like they were all on the same level. This is most definitely not the case for Southbound, sadly. There’s an undeniable odour of predictability to segments such as the cult initiation and the demon bar that just reeks of been-there, done-that.
The abandoned hospital segment, entitled The Accident, is miles ahead of the other stops on this highway to hell in terms of atmosphere, direction and acting. Mather Zickel gives the standout performance of the movie as Lucas, a careless driver who must perform life-saving surgery in a deserted operating room on the very soul he has just ran over. This one strikes a cord because it touches upon the moral and spiritual dilemmas that can plague an actual surgeon’s mind, at some point in their career. David Bruckner directs here, which comes as no surprise as he helmed the terrifying opener to V/H/S, Amateur Night. So far the only V/H/S short to earn itself a feature-length spin-off. ‘Nuff said!
It lacks both the cohesiveness and the consistency of superior horror anthologies such as Trick’r Treat (2007), but this one is still worth a peek.