Grade D+

Five interrelated stories — only the first and last stories are truly related — taking place in a small town where strange characters and occurrences are commonplace.  Story 1: two men on the run from winged skeletons.  Story 2: three women in a band get a flat tire, and a weird couple take them to their home for a dinner they’ll never forget.  Story 3: a careless driver hits a woman with his car, and after much hesitation he takes her to a deserted hospital where the only help he gets is from two voices from a 911 call center.  Story 4: a man fights demons to take back his long, lost sister.  Story 5: a home invasion puts a family of three at risk; but the father may have done something to provoke the attack.

Sounds good so far, huh? Well, if that’s what you think, then you didn’t see the grade I gave it.  The concept is good…the execution not so good.  The screenplay is obviously written by someone who needs many more years of learning how to craft a well written screenplay (almost every main character says “What the f#@k!” numerous times, to give an example of the screenwriter’s lack of expertise in dialogue).  As for acting…there are maybe two actors who are good; the rest seem like first year actors who came straight out of Sears or Target where they were working for the last ten years and one day thought, “Hey, I should be an actor!”

The direction, cinematography, lighting…all have the feel of a first movie attempt.  I could easily forgive this because “Southbound” is a very low budget flick; but a so so script?  Nope, I don’t forgive that.  I’ve seen low budget movies that were saved purely by a great script.  No such redeeming writing here.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Southbound” happens to be the scariest part of the movie: the scene when a winged skeleton suddenly flies toward a pick-up truck, smashing against a window.  What made this scary is that the camera was pointing straight ahead of the creature, so when it rushed forward, it comes right at the audience; and when viewed from a big screen t.v., it could make you jump.

With all the new, horror movies out there, why did I choose this one to watch?  Because a certain, famous website had the majority of the viewers of “Southbound” give it very high ratings and praises.  After I watched the movie, I believe that those reviewers who gave highly favorable marks to “Southbound” were involved in the making of this movie and/or related to the people who were part of the movie.  See, you can’t trust everything you read in the internet.

— M