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John’s Horror Corner: Southbound (2015), five linked tales form this decent horror anthology with angels of death and the worst broken leg ever.

April 20, 2016

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MY CALL: If you want grim reapers, satanic cults, unlucky hitchhikers, devil worship, the worst leg injury ABSOLUTELY EVER, amateur surgery, home invasions, demons and trips to Hell and back, then this is for you. Not all the short films hit home runs but the few great moments make it worth the gory price of admission. Overall, this is a pretty good anthology. MOVIES LIKE Southbound: This movie most closely matches the stylings of Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), A Christmas Horror Story (2015) and Trick ‘r Treat (2007).

OTHER HORROR ANTHOLOGIESDead of Night (1945), Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Deadtime Stories (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), 3 Extremes (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), V/H/S Viral (2014) and A Christmas Horror Story (2015).

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If you’ve followed my reviews for a while now then you ought to know that I love horror anthologies. Typically either all of the short stories are directed by one man and written by another (e.g., Creepshow), or each short story has a different writer and director (e.g., V/H/S). However, this anthology features five stories with six writers and six directors: the trio of Radio Silence (V/H/S segment 10/31/98), Patrick Horvath (The Pact II), David Bruckner (V/H/S segment Amateur Night) and Roxanne Benjamin (V/H/S, V/H/S 2, V/H/S Viral).

Unlike many anthologies which feature a story teller or wraparound story (e.g., Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie), this takes the approach of linked stories in which one component of the previous story links us to the next (much as in Trick ‘r Treat)–although it does loop us back to the opening story.

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The Way In. The opening finds two men driving southbound on a desert highway. Covered in blood, trapped in some sort of timeloop and followed by several black flying angels of death, they have clearly done something very bad. This was a really sleek and cool short. The special effects and CGI are impressive. At one point a very cool looking grim reaper reaches down a guy’s throat tearing his mouth and jaw into a macabre gaping mess.

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Siren. The next morning three girls in the same area hit the road only to get the cliché flat tire. But fret not–they’re offered a ride, dinner and a place to say with a weird couple having a dinner party that evening with their equally weird neighbors and their even weirder twin sons. When they say grace let’s just say it sounded like they weren’t thanking our Heavenly Father. Outside of some vomit and a lot of tongue-in-cheek social awkwardness, this short was relatively uneventful. Somewhat interesting, but somewhat boring as well.

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The Accident. One of the girls (Fabianne Therese; Starry Eyes) from Siren escapes the satanic ritual and is brutally, gorily and hilariously hit by a car, the driver of which now endures a most stressful and unhelpful 911 call trying to help her–it’s both soul-crushing and hilarious. Her legs are bent all over the place, she’s convulsing…I was shocked the guy didn’t panic and run. He takes her to what seems to be a recently abandoned town and into an empty hospital where he is advised by some surgeon (over the phone who knows far too much about the situation) to set her broken leg, intubate her, make an incision under her ribs to insert his hand inside her thorax to compress her lung! This is BRUTAL. First off, I never thought a broken leg scene in a horror movie could make me reel, wince, yell at the screen and uncomfortably laugh more than Insidious Chapter 3 (2015). But this movie wins–again folks, I was yelling at the screen LOL. It’s so gleefully macabre and awful and wonderful as we hear the bloody tissue twist and slice and see the victim’s face as she, fully awake, endures all this. HOLY SHIT this short was amazing!

Compounding all this is that after he fails to save her, he is somehow trapped in the abandoned hospital! This short alone is worth watching this movie.

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Jailbreak, the fourth short, strangely deviates from the more distinctly linked second and third as a man battles demons in a gory bar fight in search of his sister, who evidently has been in Hell for a long time. The special effects range from marginal to decent with some gooey splatters, but the story was completely uncompelling. I felt no satisfaction by the ending other than the relief that we were moving on to the work of other filmmakers.

The Way Out feels a lot like the home invasion from You’re Next (2013). It’s a little scary, moderately creepy, and packs some good shock value as a tough girl stands up to defend her family from a group of murderous masked home intruders. But what makes this final short interesting is that it links back all the way to the The Way In, which felt like the beginning of our timeline as we watched. Some of the “gates to Hell” CGI were a little cheesy, but they depicted some cool infernal imagery nonetheless.

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I thought The Way In was nifty, especially how it linked to The Way Out, and that The Accident alone was worth the price of admission. Sure, not all the shorts were awesome. But therein lies the luxury of anthology films; it takes about ten minutes to figure out you don’t like a particular short, and by then you only have about ten more minutes until it’s over and you’re on to the next. And because each short has a different writer and director, you can rest assured that it will have a completely different style.

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This was entertaining and at times pretty clever. The big take home message for me to sell you on this though would have to be the injuries of the girl in The Accident. WORST BROKEN LEG EVERRRRRR! Mercy! Overall, this is a pretty good anthology.

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Victor De Leon permalink
    April 21, 2016 8:43 am

    Looking forward to this. I was sent a screener a ways back but never got around to it. I moved it up to watch soon. I’ll swing back around and read your write up after I’ve watched it. Thanks for the head’s up!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      April 21, 2016 8:52 am

      No one sent me a screener.
      Angrily crosses arms and pouts
      LOL

      • Victor De Leon permalink
        April 21, 2016 8:56 am

        😄

Trackbacks

  1. John’s Horror Corner INDEX: a list of all my horror reviews by movie release date | Movies, Films & Flix
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  3. John’s Horror Corner: Beyond the Gates (2016), an evil VCR board game movie with a distinct 80s feel. | Movies, Films & Flix
  4. John’s Horror Corner: The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), really not the best horror anthology, with a variety of perverted themes. | Movies, Films & Flix

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