Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, Radio Silence
Southbound is an anthology film that follows several groups of people on lonesome desert roads surrounding a strange town. The first story involves a couple of men who, from their bloody appearance, are in some kind of trouble. They find themselves trapped in a never ending loop while being pursued by something. The second story follows a band on their way to a concert when they are forced to spend the evening with some very strange people. The third story is about a man who accidentally runs over a woman and is now in a race to save her life under the guidance of an odd emergency call operator. The fourth story is about a man going to great lengths to find his sister. The final story finds a family under siege in their new home.
Southbound is a film constantly in motion. It begins mid-story with our protagonists already fleeing. There is a pattern that continues with each subsequent tale, we catch things already underway and have to pay attention to a few clues in the dialog to try and piece things together. It's well-crafted in the sense that the stories manage to convey just enough information to keep character motivates clear and narratives coherent.
|"Uhh, she was like this when I found her..."|
The score is a mish-mash of rock and some very deliberate retro synthesizer sounds that evoke the work of John Carpenter. In fact, it would have been very easy to see Carpenter as a collaborator in a film like this, but I appreciate that the creators used him as a source of inspiration without slavishly copying all the surface elements of his work. This is very much a modern film and it possesses its own identity.
|"Say, do you know where there's a Steak N' Shake around here?"|
V/H/S (2012) ushered in a resurgence of anthology movies and I think Southbound is a worthy successor, I walked out of the theater eager to take another trip to the strange unnamed town at the center of the movie. I wouldn't mind seeing Southbound become a regular series of films. It sets up a number of tantalizing mysteries and sharp horror that is worthy of a return journey.