your kicks on Route 666. Cellular and GPS service never seem to work along this
lonely stretch of interstate, but there will be plenty of locals coming around.
Unfortunately, they are not so helpful. All road trips take macabre detours
in the wickedly creepy horror anthology Southbound
opens this Friday in New York.
of the filmmakers who contributed to the V/H/S
franchise, including the Radio Silence guys who capped off the original film, tag-teamed on Southbound.
Fortunately, their styles mesh easily, because the constituent story arcs
deliberately run together. All five are decidedly scary, starting with Radio
Silence’s The Way Out. Two bloody and
bleary-eyed rough necks appear to be caught in a sort of loop, much like Isaac
Ezban’s The Incident, except the
weary duo are also being chased by spectral skeleton monsters that have been summoned
to punish them for some profoundly transgressive sin. Just what did they do?
Hold your horses, because more will be revealed when they reappear later.
The Way Out ends in the
roadside motel where Roxanne Benjamin’s Siren
begins. A hipster-punk version of The Runaways is checking out and hitting
the road for their next gig. When a flat tire leaves them stranded by the side
of the road, a rather mysterious family offers them shelter. Most of the band
foolishly trusts them but not Sadie, their lead singer. In fact, she is quite
confused and alarmed by how much they know about the recent death of a fellow
third story rather brusquely cuts off the second in an
out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire kind of way. David Bruckner’s aptly titled Accident also happens to be the
creepiest, most intense arc of the consistently strong film. Poor Lucas did
indeed run someone over due to his own negligence. However, he tries to do the
right thing, but the malevolent 911 operator has different ideas. This works
particularly well because of the spot-on writing. Several times Lucas is
sufficiently alert to question the sinister voice’s dubious statements, but his
desperation makes him accept each explanation. It turns into a real
mind-reeler, yet it is believable enough to be deeply unsettling.
we follow one of the hitherto unseen principals of Accident into Patrick Horvath’s Jailbreak.
A man walks into a bar. Complications ensue. It would be spoilery to reveal
anymore, but Horvath’s segment establishes some of the evil nature of this localized
zone of supernatural and psychological mayhem.
Silence comes back for more with The Way In,
which eventually loops back into The Way
Out again. How they get there is a twisted trip. Let’s just say it ends
well, at least from the genre fans’ perspective (but for the characters, not so
is no dead weight in Southbound and
hardly any slack. Although Benjamin has primarily been active in producer
roles, Southbound announces her
arrival as a major directorial talent. In some respects, Siren is the most conventional of the five (or four, depending on
how you count them) component arcs, but she really kicks it up several notches.
Even though there are not a lot of familiar
faces in the cast, the performances are all rock solid. Mather Zickel is a
particular standout as Lucas, the tormented driver. For genre fans, the voice
of Larry Fessenden as the local DJ is also instantly reassuring. Frankly, by
horror standards, there is not a great deal of blood or gore in the film, but
there are plenty of scares. Highly recommended for those who appreciate franchises
like V/H/S and the original Twilight Zone, Southbound opens this Friday (2/5) in New York, at the Village
Labels: Anthology Films, David Bruckner, Horror Movies, Larry Fessenden, Patrick Horvath, Radio Silence