There have been plenty of anthological horror movies in the past decade, but very few of them have managed to actually create as much of a frightening impression as Southbound does. Though it has some over-used storylines and drags in pace, overall the film is a great example of well-crafted but simple horror.
Split into five separate sections, this festival-debuted indie flick manages to keep each story somehow intertwined, whether that is through the characters or even just the voice of eerie radio presenter, voiced by Larry Fessenden. The movie begins with the story of Jack (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin) and Mitch (Chad Villella), who are on the run for reasons that are initially unclear, simultaneously followed by a terrifying spirit. Meanwhile, the audience is introduced to a group of three musicians, Sadie (Fabianne Therese), Ava (Hannah Marks) and Kim (Nathalie Love), who are travelling on tour. After a mechanical failure, the trio seek help from a couple passing by who, though they seem innocent, are far from it. The next story shifts to a man named Lucas (Mather Zickel), who causes an accident while distracted on a mobile phone and is on a rather complicated mission to save the life of the woman he injured. We are then introduced to Danny (David Yow), who is on a quest to find his missing sister, Jesse (Tipper Newton), and soon finds out that perhaps his mission is a dangerous mistake. Finally, the fifth plotline belongs to loving parents Daryl (Gerald Downey) and Cait (Kate Beahan), who are in the midst of enjoying their last vacation before their daughter, Jem (Hassie Harrison), jets off to college, when a group of masked intruders arrive to terrorise the family.
Both the direction and performances of Southbound are impressive; the extremely convincing fear portrayed has viewers gripping their seats. The storylines are also a highlight. Though some are reminiscent of past horror movies, each plot is well laid out and sparks some decent tension. The main issue is the pacing as, after the first three stories, it leaves viewers a little tired of the same, relentless terror each group faces.
Though a bit rough around the edges, Southbound is a well-made ode to anthological horror. Lovers of the genre are not going to want to miss it.
Southbound is released nationwide on 27th February 2016.
Watch the trailer for Southbound here: