Southbound (2015)

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Released 20-Apr-2016

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror None
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2015
Running Time 85:22 (Case: 89)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Roxanne Benjamin
David Bruckner
Patrick Horvath
Radio Silence
Studio
Distributor
Gryphon Entertainment Starring Chad Villella
Matt Bettinelli-Olpin
Natalie Love
Hannah Marks
Fabianne Therese
Susan Burke
Davey Johnson
Mather Zickle
David Yow
Tipper Newton
Hassie Harrison
Kate Beahan
Gerald Downey
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music The Gifted


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Southbound is a film of five, somewhat interlinked, stories by four different directors. The stories all occur on one stretch of road in the American desert and transition seamlessly into each other, and circle around each other without separate introductions, so it is only with the end credits that we find the names of the individual stories.

     Without preliminaries, Southbound starts with two bloodstained men, Mitch (Chad Villella) and Jack (Matt Bettinelli-Olpin), fleeing in a pick-up across the desert, seemingly pursued by black, floating, wraith like creatures. They stop at a petrol station / diner / motel on the highway to clean up, but find that however often they drive away, they seem to return quickly to the same spot, where the wraiths are waiting.

     Three members of an all-girl band, Kim, Ava and Sadie (Natalie Love, Hannah Marks, Fabianne Therese), leave that same motel and drive down the road in their Combi Van but become stranded in the desert when they have a flat and do not have a spare. They accept an offer from a kindly middle aged couple (Susan Burke, Davey Johnson) to put them up for the night until a spare tire can be found. At dinner that night both the additional company and the meat dish is very weird. Sadie, as a vegetarian, does not eat any of the meat but the others do, with strange consequences.

     Driving down that same stretch of road at night Lucas (Mather Zickle) hits a girl who runs out onto the road. He uses his mobile phone to call emergency and is directed to put the girl into his car and drive her to the lights of a town he seems further down the road. He does, and finds a hospital emergency department. Everything is open and the lights are on, but there is nobody around. With the telephone operator still on the mobile, Lucas is talked through a number of increasingly extreme procedures which may save the injured girl’s life.

     Danny (David Yow) enters the bar with a shotgun. He has been looking for his sister Jessie (Tipper Newton) for 13 years and believes she is nearby. When the bartender recognises her photo and knows where she is Danny forces him at gunpoint to take him to her. Jessie is indeed nearby, but the reunion is not what Danny had expected.

     Jem (Hassie Harrison) is travelling to college with her mother Cait (Kate Beahan) and father Daryl (Gerald Downey). Stopping for the night, they are terrified when their apartment is invaded by three masked men who seem to have a score to settle.

     Sometimes anthologies can feel a bit uneven, with some stories more interesting than others, an issue that Southbound generally manages to avoid. This is partly due to the fact that the film starts at a fast pace and seldom lets up as there is no explanation or exposition to slow things down. I felt that the story with the three band girls was somewhat at odds in tone with the other stories, but the deserted hospital story was a doozy and all the stories had enough unsettling moments to keep one wondering what is coming next. There are also a number of shock moments and things that go bump to keep one on edge and a couple of the stories are very gory and bloody (not to mention squirm-worthy) which justifies the R rating for “high impact horror violence”. However every bit of gore serves the story so is never simple exploitation.

     Southbound is surprisingly well acted from the ensemble cast and explains nothing, although it does leave clues as to the interaction between the different stories. I was drawn in and got far more from the film than I was expecting.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Southbound is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

     The film has some deliberate contrast and brightness variations for effect but detail is good, colours strong with rich red blood, blacks solid and shadow detail also very good.

     There was evidence of aliasing on blinds and the like but I noticed no other marks or artefacts except some shimmer during the end titles.

    There are no subtitles provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The DVD cover incorrectly indicates a DTS audio track is available. It is not, the audio is Dolby Digital 5.1 at 448 Kbps.

     The audio is quite front oriented. Music, effects and dialogue, which was clear, come from the front speaker. There were a number of loud, sudden shock effects which were also front oriented. The surrounds and rears provided mostly ambience, except during a car sequence when they were more aggressive. The subwoofer added a little bass to the music.

    The synth score by The Gifted was effective, as were the rock songs scattered throughout the film.

     Lip synchronisation seemed fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are zero extras. The menu offers "Play film" and "Chapters".

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 1 US release of Southbound comes with an audio commentary, deleted scenes (1:30), Outtakes (10:48) and a photo gallery, which would make it the preferred version.

Summary

     Southbound is an anthology of interlinked horror stories set on an isolated highway in mid-western USA. The film works well; it is interesting, unsettling, bloody and well-acted. Fans of horror and anthologies will find a lot to like.

     The video and audio are fine. There are no extras so Region 4 misses out on those available in Region 1.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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