Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here. Happy Birthday to AICN HORROR which celebrates its sixth year in October! Always hoping to pass on new and exciting films for all of you ravenous readers, I have once again compiled a list counting down to my favorite horror film released since last October and covered in this here AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. Some of these films might be new to you since there isn’t a lot of horror in theaters these days. That said, there were more on this list that DID have a theatrical run than in previous years which means the horror genre does seem to be on the upswing. Some of these films have only seen the light of day on Video On Demand or simply go straight to DVD/BluRay or digital download.
As far as how I compiled this list? Well, I simply looked over my AICN HORROR columns over the last year since October 1st, 2015 (which happens to be the birthday of this little column five years ago!) and worked and reworked the list until I had 31. No real method to my special brand of madness. We’ll be counting down every day until Halloween to my favorite horror film of the year. I’ll also provide a second film suggestion at the end of each post that is worth nothing or missed being on the list by a little bit for those who can’t get enough horror.
So let’s get to it! Chime in after the article and let me know how you liked the film I chose, how on the nose or mind-numbingly wrong I am, and most importantly, come up with your own list…let’s go!
SOUTHBOUND (2015)Directed by Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, Patrick Horvath, Radio Silence
Written by Roxanne Benjamin, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, David Bruckner, Susan Burke, Dallas Hallam, Patrick Horvath
Starring Chad Villella, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Kristina Pesic, Fabianne Therese, Nathalie Love, Hannah Marks, Dana Gould, Anessa Ramsey, Susan Burke, Davey Johnson, Mather Zickel, Karla Droege, Zoe Cooper, Justin Welborn, David Yow, Tipper Newton, Matt Peters, Maria Olsen, Tyler Tuione, Kate Beahan, Gerald Downey, Hassie Harrison, Tallulah Mounce, Max Folkman, Nick Folkman, Karina Fontes, Roxanne Benjamin, Damion Stephens, & Larry Fessenden as the D.J.!
Find out more about this film Facebook here, and @SouthboundMovie
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
While much of the horror ballyhoo this week is about THE WITCH (and the ballyhoo is definitely worth it), there’s another really great horror film that is being slowly released throughout the country that deserves your attention as well. SOUTHBOUND is an indie horror film from the twisted minds that brought you V/H/S and for those who thought that horror series was a bit disjointed, you might want to check this stream of consciousness nightmare out as it packs all kinds of thrills, chills, terrors, and screams in a much more streamlined way.
Five different vignettes make up SOUTHBOUND, but it’s told as if it is one never-ending Mobius loop of terror with one segment blending pretty seamlessly into another. A tale of a thieves fleeing inner demons flows into the story of three girls in a band breaking down on the side of the road mixes into an account of a man who runs over a woman with his car morphs into a parable of a man looking for his missing sister molds into a yarn about a family haunted by masked invaders in a hotel. Much like PULP FICTION, one story flows pretty smoothly into the next to tell a rather epic journey through a single stretch of road that seems to lead nowhere.
The most interesting thing about SOUTHBOUND is what it tells the viewers and what it keeps to itself. There are some points that are kept only to be revealed later in the film in another story, while other points are left ambiguous and open-ended, giving the entire film an unpredictable and dangerous tone as to what is actually happening here. I walked into this film knowing nothing about it (something I try to do with most horror films if I can help it) and found myself enrapt into every twist and turn this terror trip of a film took me. Each segment, directed and written by different filmmakers, really worked well together and off of one another, making the entire film feel much more epic than V/H/S which had its stronger and weaker segments. By taking away the hard break between the segments, this film really works as less of an anthology and more of a nightmare that changes directions randomly, yet maintains the same dire tone. As a whole movie, SOUTHBOUND is much more satisfying than V/H/S.
It’s harder to get into specifics here as the stories flow into one another. Some of the vignettes use the same characters from other stories while others stand alone. In doing so, I don’t know if there is one story stronger than another as it feels as if any of them weren’t in here, this movie version of a house of cards would tumble down. I love the way each story is distinct in the tale being told and the iconic and horrifying imagery that occurs. Each story has its fair share of gore, but all of them utilize it in different ways. One quiet scene of a man sliding his arm inside the body of another person to massage a lung back to life is horrifying. But it differs greatly from the horrific angels of death chasing a pair of robbers along a highway and from the disgusting lump of mystery meat that is served as a twisted dinner table. Each section is successful equally in unsettling and causing fear and terror.
I loved everything about SOUTBOUND and if it has to bear the qualification of anthology, I’d say it was the best anthology I’ve seen this year as all of the stories play out with the same morose and somber tone, but do so in a unique manner all the way through. On top of that, this film is filled with tons of genre stars and filmmakers. Stars like STARRY EYES’ Fabianne Therese and Maria Olsen, DELIVERY’s Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, and THE SIMPSONS’ Dana Gould accompany new fresh faces like Nathalie Love, Hannah Marks, Mather Zickel, and Hassie Harrison in the cast and all of them are extremely talented at the roles they play. Many of the directors here worked on the V/H/S and while the tone is just as horrifying, things are much more focused and effective here in this more linear tale.
SOUTHBOUND is a horror version of PULP FICTION that tears down the road unapologetically and offers up unique stories and even more unique visuals. They say that a good anthology is made up of stories that would work on their own. Each of these vignettes would be a great standalone. Put all together like this and it’s downright genius horror.
See ya tomorrow, folks, as I count down the best of the best covered in AICN HORROR since October 1st, 2013!
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 15 years & AICN HORROR for 5. Follow Mark on the Twitters @Mark_L_Miller and on his new website collecting posts for AICN HORROR as well as all of the most recent updates on his various comic book projects on MLMillerWrites.com.
Look for Johnny Destructo, Stephen Andrade, Christian DiBari, and my own ramblings about random horror films on CultPop/PoptardsGo and Ain’t It Cool on AICN HORROR’s CANNIBAL HORRORCAST Podcast every other Thursday (or so…)!