As a lifelong fan of the horror anthology, it's been super rewarding to see them make such a comeback over the last 10 years. While their overall quality is about as inconsistent as the segments in most anthologies, there have been enough good ones -- or even enough good segments inside of uneven movies -- to get me really excited about their revival. From Trick 'r Treat to Chillerama, the V/H/S films to last October's Tales of Halloween, horror anthologies have come back in a big bad way and I couldn't be happier about it.
The latest anthology to join the party is Southbound, put together by many of the same filmmakers responsible for the original V/H/S. The movie tells five stories, each of which bleed into one another in a way that's more Trick 'r Treat than it is Creepshow -- it works more like a continuous narrative that switches characters every 15 minutes or so. There's a unifying theme that ties all of the stories together: the characters have all made mistakes which they are either running from or which they're trying to atone. Some are more successful than others. Very few of them are.
The approach that the filmmakers take with Southbound -- from the writing stage through the execution -- helps to stave off a lot of the disparity that plagues a lot of horror anthologies. There aren't any segments that feel like they belong in different movies, which is no feat to accomplish when multiple filmmakers are collaborating on one anthology. There's a consistency to the tone and the execution that again makes it feel like one unfolding story that takes a number of different paths instead of something with a bunch of stops and starts. Great care has clearly been taken in the construction of the movie, and it's very impressive as anthologies go.
Even the segments that don't completely come together have moments that make them totally worthwhile. The things that are chasing the two men in "The Way In" are creepy and wonderfully designed, though better viewed at a slight distance because of some CGI. The female protagonists of Benjamin's contribution are a nice change of pace from, say, the bro-heavy subjects of the V/H/S movies, and all of the segments do a great job of creating scenarios that grow increasingly nightmarish and out of the characters' control. It's the film's organizing conceit, and while it's never explicit about their descent into Hell as punishment for actions that take place both on screen and off, there's no mistaking what's really going on here.
I've got a feeling Southbound is one of those horror movies that people are going to really flip out for -- I've heard as much coming out of the festival circuit -- but which I just liked. That's ok. It's well photographed and well constructed and, like a lot of recent indie horror, features a really cool score (by The Gifted). It distinguishes itself enough from other anthologies to work, even if the pieces didn't all come together for me. But between this and Intruders and Nina Forever, the horror movies of 2016 are off to a good start.
Lucky! I can't read the review yet cause I'm waiting to see this but looking forward to seeing your thoughts after I do. Did you see an advance screening as I have this on my list of releases for Feb. 9th?ReplyDelete
I've been watching the crap out of anthologies and I'm excited for this one.ReplyDelete
Love anthologys, looking forward to this one, Never to many, for years I loved John lithgoe in The Twilight zone movie best, but now as im older I really love James woods in Quitters inc from Cat's eye more, anyone want to jump in with favourite anthology sections?ReplyDelete
Where's my Cake!
Just finished the movie. Decent. Anything with Fabianne Therese was good. The rest didn't do much for me. Also, enough with the Carnival of Souls references :(ReplyDelete
Public domain, yo!Delete
Your next marathon..24 hrs of public domain horrorDelete
I went to see this at the Siskel Center instead of watching the Super Bowl. It took me until the third segment to get in, but after that, I decided I liked it (even though it was undoubtedly the peak). Seeing it on the big screen probably helped a lot, too, so those who can, shouldReplyDelete
First off, this is miles beyond V/H/S and a leap into the right direction. I thought it was so well done! Classic settings and themes that brought me back to numerous Horror films, though the stories were original enough and, as you point out, feel like they are made for the same film in the same universe, which I'm sure was the intention. The way they connect is simple, yet cool and effective. The variety of Horror sub-genre that is packed in these short stories was fantastic. Images from different films that I love kept popping into my head. Ultimately though, the highest compliment I can give is that FINALLY it's a modern anthology that is played completely straight. No laughs, no dick jokes, no slapping zombies with dildos and nothing I noticed that cheapens most Horror films of this kind. My only criticism would be that sometimes it's a bit generic in "I see the influence for that story" but it didn't bother me nor did the times where CGI was used; I felt it was acceptable given the films universe. Loved it all in all and it's one of my favorite modern Horror anthologies.ReplyDelete
I absolutely hated everything about this movie. It is like watching 5 Twilight Zone episodes if they stopped right before the twist ending. It's the cinematic equivalent of repetitive blue balls.ReplyDelete
Whoever made this movie owes me an hour and a half of my life I will never get back! It was crap with so many unanswered questions. So unimpressed!!!!ReplyDelete
I saw the movie. Then I read these reviews. I must have seen a different movie. The Southbound I saw was absolute garbage. Anyone impressed with what I saw would have to be no older than 12 years old.ReplyDelete
Saw this garage today, what a shi* L**d movie, total waste of my weekend.ReplyDelete
so idiot story and acting @@@####.
Never ever watch this movie in case if you haven't....
I got suckered into paying $2.99 for this piece of crap movie. Pointlessness is not horror, it's just nothing. As in nothing really happens. It's no wonder I'd never heard of this movie before today, I wish I still hadn't heard of it.ReplyDelete
So stupid! How does this have good rating!!! Damn it 2 stupid movies in a row!!! 28 weeks earlier or something like that was the first one! Dumb dumb dumbReplyDelete
Here I come randomly 4 years later.. this was playing on Shudder tv so I popped over and watched it from the beginning. Not knowing going in that it was an anthology made for a fun experience, piecing it together. I definitely wished I had a few more clues as to what some of the "histories" were, but other than that I loved this. It also just flew by, I could have used more segments and not felt it too long!ReplyDelete