Hoping to bounce back from my last few midnight experiences, I checked out Southbound, the California desert-centric anthology made by several filmmakers involved with the V/H/S franchise.
Southbound was a solid example of one done correctly. The filmmakers behind this project (Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Pat Horvath & Radio Silence) have kicked at this can several times now and have learned how to get the most out of this format. The narrative was clever in that it flowed together as a whole, and wasn't just separate stories linked together with a flimsy wraparound. Perhaps more impressive is that five writers were able to get together and bang out something this cohesive.
Consistency was the order of the day here, though it may be somewhat detrimental that there wasn't one story I can point to as a standout. In the case of other recent anthologies, there's often one segment that everyone quotes, like Timo Tjahjanto's Safe Haven in V/H/S 2, or Chris Nash's Z is for Zygote in ABC's of Death 2. Even if you didn't like the movie overall, you sure as hell remembered those bits. I guess it remains to be seen whether that will effect Southbound's longevity going forward.
I myself can't pick out a favourite, but there were things in each story that I dug quite a bit. Since this was a World Premiere, there's very little info available about segment names and who did what, so forgive me if I misquote. The playful weirdness of Benjamin's short about the stranded girl band was refreshing and I really liked the production design and gore of Bruckner's segment in the abandoned hospital. The “reaper” creature designs in the opening segment were also pretty fantastic, even if they were digital. The overall desert motif was represented really well and gave off the aura of both the familiar and otherworldly at the same time. Apparently, the production used the same areas as the 1990 monster movie Tremors.
|Don't Fear The Reaper|
Southbound didn't knock my socks off, but it is a well made anthology with lots of ideas meshed together in interesting ways. After a long hiatus, the horror anthology is still alive and well.