Southbound (2015)

This one is a lesser known film that isn’t very notable but I thought it would make for good light entertainment. I’m pretty sure I read about it on Broken Forum. It’s a collection of five short films by different directors but which are all connected and share a theme of horror on the highway. It’s a low budget film starring unknowns but I thought it didn’t acquit too badly for itself.

The first story opens in media res and since it’s short and incomplete, that immediately told me that it would wrap around to the last story. Neither of these are very good, being about a couple of guys who flee from what looks like Grim Reaper-like monsters after committing a horrific deed. The second story is about a trio of girls who break down in the middle of nowhere while on a road trip and are picked up by a suspiciously friendly middle-aged couple. The most interesting thing about this is that the main character shows signs of genre awareness but manages to fall into the trap anyway. The next one is the most creative of the bunch, about a man who runs down a girl on the highway and calls the police but receives some very weird instructions on what to do. Finally there’s a story about demons that wouldn’t look out place as an episode of the television series Supernatural, but I suppose RPG fans like me can appreciate how it has a nice World of Darkness type vibe.

Most of the stories are at best mediocre because they’re just rehashes of familiar tropes and everything goes pretty much exactly as you’d expect. The one good story is praiseworthy because it doesn’t rely on old tropes and basically does all the work with just one actor. Another way I like to see it is look at how the different films treat mobile telephones. Horror films have a real problem with telephones and especially mobile telephones because in order to create a scary situation, you need to isolate the characters from the rest of the story. In the story with the three girls, they simply had mobile telephones magically not work when they try to call for help without any explanation, which is cheap and unsatisfying. In the last story, the beleaguered family manages to call the police, only to be told that help will not arrive until it is far too late. This makes the good story about the man in a car accident brilliant as he is isolated by the remoteness of the stretch of highway he is on and is connected to civilization through his mobile telephone only to discover it turning on him.

All told, while not exactly award winning material, this collection of films is at least competently executed enough to not disappoint and I really like the idea that is an effort by relatively unknown people to get their names out there. I think it’s worth watching if you like horror and temper your expectations accordingly.

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