Are You Afraid of the Desert?: "Southbound" a solid if not consistently memorable omnibus
89 min., not rated (but equivalent of an R).
“V/H/S,” “V/H/S 2” and “Tales of Halloween,” there is an “ABCs of Death,” “V/H/S Viral” and “A Christmas Horror Story.” Somewhere in the middle but more in the positive column stands “Southbound,” a five-segment horror omnibus that’s scrappy and skillfully conceived but still inherently hit-and-miss as these things go. Particularly impressive is how a new wave of cool, edgy, talented indie filmmakers—most of them having contributed to “V/H/S”—have combined their efforts in a thematically cohesive package with cleverly smooth transitions between each tale. If not every short-lived yarn has a memorable payoff, at least it’s momentarily entertaining and then bleeds into the next one in no time. In “Southbound,” the desolate, pentagram-shaped road often leads to nowhere but hellish pitstops.
“Entrance”) “Jailbreak” has to follow “The Accident,” and it’s the weakest link, hands down. Wielding a shotgun, Danny (David Yow) crashes into a seedy watering hole of questionable clientele in search of his long-lost younger sister (Tipper Newton), but he will find out the hard way that she was probably better off not being found. Lastly, the film circles back to the beginning with Radio Silence’s “The Way In,” a closing bookend to the opening “The Way Out,” in which a married couple (Gerald Downey, Kate Beahan) spends the night with their daughter (Hassie Harrison) at an Airbnb before she’s off to college. Once a trio of masked intruders come knocking to torment the family, this becomes a satisfying, efficiently executed shocker in a short burst, while featuring some of the creepiest masks since “The Strangers."
Grade: B -
Grade: B -