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Context Film / Southbound

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1[[quoteright:350:]]²²''Southbound'' is a 2015 American {{horror}} {{anthology}} film directed by Radio Silence, Roxanne Benjamin, David Bruckner, and Patrick Horvath.²²The film consists of five interlocking stories following the fates of several weary travellers who confront their worst nightmares and darkest secrets on a desolate stretch of desert highway.²²* The Way Out (directed by Radio Silence): Two men, Mitch and Jack, are driving down the highway, covered in blood from an unknown-as-yet-to-the-audience incident, and pursued by bizarre winged creatures. They stop at a gas station to clean up, which is when things get really bizarre.²* Siren (directed by Roxanne Benjamin): Sadie, Ava, and Kim, three members of a band called The White Tights are travelling down the highway when one of the tyres on their van bursts. They are soon picked up by Betty and Dale, a friendly if somewhat eccentric couple, and taken to their home until they can get their van repaired - but strange things start happening soon after they arrive.²* The Accident (directed by David Bruckner): Lucas is distracted by his phone while driving, resulting in him hitting someone and causing horrific injuries. He tries desperately to save her life while guided by a 911 dispatcher, a certified EMT, and a surgeon over his phone.²* Jailbreak (directed by Patrick Horvath): A shotgun-wielding man named Danny holds up a run-down bar, demanding to know the location of his missing sister Jesse.²* The Way In (directed by Radio Silence): A family, consisting of Daryl, Cait and their daughter Jem, are having a last weekend together before Jem leaves for college. Shortly after booking into their vacation home, however, they are menaced by a trio of masked men.²²'''There are unmarked spoilers ahead''', be warned.²----²²!!This film provides examples of:²²* AbandonedHospital: The events of "The Accident" primarily occur in a very creepy one.²* AffablyEvil: [[spoiler:Betty, Dale and the Kensingtons]] from "Siren". They're perfectly cheerful and friendly, but also turn out to be [[spoiler:brainwashing cultists.]]²* AgonyOfTheFeet: In "Siren", [[spoiler:Sadie]] gets one of her feet caught in a BearTrap, and spends the rest of the segment limping after escaping from it.²* AlienGeometries: In "The Way Out", Jack and Mitch pass by the exact same gas station multiple times while trying to escape. Later, Jack enters a motel room [[spoiler:only to eventually find himself in an entirely different room - which the audience will see with more context later on - and ends up stuck in an infinitely looping hallway.]]²* AmbiguousEnding: [[spoiler:The loop starts over again, however, the minor change in voiceover from the DJ (as well as many of the things he says throughout the film) suggests that the characters may one day be able to escape if they make different choices.]]²* AmbiguousSituation: At the end of "The Accident", [[spoiler:it isn't made clear if Lucas was able to escape purgatory.]]²* AnAesop: From "The Accident": driving while distracted by one's phone is a phenomenally stupid idea.²* AnArmAndALeg: Danny blows off Warren's hand with his shotgun after the latter claws his back open.²* AndIMustScream: [[spoiler:Sadie]] spends much of "The Accident" critically injured, choking on her own blood, unable to move or speak.²* BigBrotherInstinct: Danny enters a bar he knows to be full of demonic beings, brandishing a shotgun, in order to find his missing sister. [[spoiler:Unfortunately for him, he didn't anticipate that she ''wants'' to stay in purgatory.]]²* BodyHorror: The Reapers are floating, emaciated creatures with no legs, long flowing tendrils, and a vertical slit down their [[TheBlank featureless faces]] and torsos [[spoiler:which occasionally opens up to show a skeleton inside]]. They also [[spoiler:emerge from the corpses of Jem and her parents]].²** [[spoiler:Sadie's]] injuries after being hit by a car are nothing short of horrifying, the most {{squick}}-worthy being her broken knee causing her leg to bend the ''other'' way. [[spoiler:It later almost detaches entirely.]]²* BookEnds: The first and last segments of the film [[spoiler:open and close with the same scenes, with mild differences (including the voiceover), indicating that each loop is different and could possibly change more drastically if the characters make different choices]]. Additionally, both segments use the same music and sound cues.²* BoomHeadshot: [[spoiler:How Danny finishes off Al]], complete with a healthy dosage of YourHeadAsplode.²* BrainwashedAndCrazy: The fates of [[spoiler:Ava and Kim]].²* ChekhovsGun: The BearTrap in "Siren".²** The [[FreezeFrameBonus blink-and-you'll-miss-it]] rubber mask in "The Way Out".²* CrapsackWorld: The various conflicts are driven by the Reapers, a Satanic-esque {{cult}}, mysterious disembodied voices, [[HumanoidAbomination demonic humanoids]], [[OurGhostsAreDifferent lost spirits]], and MalevolentMaskedMen. That's not even getting into the AlienGeometries and CosmicHorrorStory elements. Oh, and [[spoiler:it turns out that the entire movie is set in some kind of purgatory.]]²* CreepyTwins: The Kensington twins from "Siren" are very unsettling from the moment they're introduced [[spoiler:and turn out to be cultists.]]²* DaylightHorror: Aside from the very, very beginning, "The Way Out" takes place entirely in the bright, sunny daytime.²* DevelopingDoomedCharacters: Almost every segment features this, with the possible exception being [[spoiler:"The Accident".]]²* EldritchLocation: [[spoiler:The setting of the entire film, purgatory.]]²* FacialHorror: [[spoiler:Jack]] getting his mouth torn apart by a Reaper.²* FateWorseThanDeath: [[spoiler:Being stuck in an endless loop, in purgatory, definitely qualifies. Due to an apparent lack of RippleEffectProofMemory, however, the characters remain unaware that they're stuck.]]²* {{Foreshadowing}} / {{Futureshadowing}}: All over the place. Every segment contains clues to what's really going on that may not become clear until the end.²** One of the Reapers attacks Jack in the gas station bathroom by yanking him backwards by his shirt; Jack is later [[spoiler:gruesomely killed by one of the Reapers shoving its hand into his mouth and tearing his face apart.]] Both of these events mirror the way [[spoiler:Jack killed Cait.]]²** The motel room that Mitch enters [[AlienGeometries suddenly turns into an entirely different location]]. [[spoiler:The location being the vacation home seen in "The Way In".]]²** The truck that Mitch and Jack travel in is visible [[spoiler:outside the Freez'n Over in "The Way In".]]²** [[spoiler:A rubber mask]] can be briefly seen on a table at the end of "The Way Out". [[spoiler:It's the same mask that Mitch wears in "The Way In".]]²** The voice of the 911 dispatcher in "The Accident" [[spoiler:is the exact same one as heard in "The Way In".]]²** It is noted in the director and cast commentary that the voiceovers by the DJ, particularly the beginning one, [[spoiler:effectively tell the plot of the entire movie if you pay attention.]]²** The Reapers' stalking of on Mitch and Jack in "The Way Out" mirror the masked men's stalking of the family in "The Way In". [[spoiler:Jack and Mitch are two of the masked men.]]²* FreezeFrameBonus: At the end of "The Way Out", [[spoiler: a mask]] can be seen lying on a table, foreshadowing later events. In the same shot, a Reaper can be briefly seen to the right, overseeing [[spoiler:Mitch's punishment.]]²** Another Reaper can be very quickly [[MeaningfulBackgroundEvent glimpsed behind Sadie]] at the end of "Siren".²* FullFrontalAssault: Their [[SceneryCensor groins are censored]], but the Lost Souls near the end of "Jailbreak" are completely nude.²* {{Gorn}}: [[spoiler:Jack's]] death is particularly gruesome - a Reaper [[OrificeInvasion shoves its hand into his mouth]], completely [[GlasgowGrin ripping his mouth apart]].²** In "The Accident", [[spoiler:Sadie's]] compound fracture on her knee is so bad that her leg actually starts to ''fall off''.²** In "Jailbreak", Danny blows [[spoiler:Al's]] head apart with his shotgun, splattering blood all over the room ([[BlackComedy including two of the patrons]]).²* GrossUpCloseUp: A couple of memorable examples occur in "The Accident". When Lucas has to hold [[spoiler:Sadie's]] throat open to insert the breathing tube, we get a few [[SarcasmMode lovely shots]] of the inside of her throat. Later, he is instructed to [[spoiler:manually compress her lung]], resulting in shots shown from inside her chest as he does just that.²* GroundhogDayLoop: [[spoiler:The whole film is set throughout one neverending, looping day in purgatory.]]²* HeWhoFightsMonsters: [[spoiler:Mitch and Jack brutally murder Cait, Daryl and finally Jem in revenge for... ''something'' Daryl did to Mitch's daughter.]]²* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Averted - it is strongly implied that Mitch's daughter is dead and was possibly killed by Daryl.]]²* JumpScare: After arguing with Mitch (who wishes to stay instead of fleeing), [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere Jack decides to leave him and gets back into the truck]]. [[spoiler:Cue a Reaper suddenly appearing ''right by the driver's side'' and dragging him out of the vehicle.]]²* KarmicDeath: On a rewatch, it becomes apparent that [[spoiler:Jack's]] fate is this. Compare the way he dies to the way [[spoiler:he kills Cait.]]²* MalevolentMaskedMen: The antagonists of "The Way In". [[spoiler:Two of them are revealed to be Mitch and Jack.]]²* MrExposition: If one pays attention, it turns out that [[spoiler:the DJ]] is this.²* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler:Mitch is horrified with himself after killing Jem.]]²* NoodleIncident: It's never entirely made clear why the masked men are targeting Daryl, only that it has something to do with [[spoiler:Mitch's daughter.]] Given what happens, it's safe to assume that [[spoiler:Daryl killed her, whether it was deliberate or an accident is left open.]]²* NothingIsScarier: In full effect throughout each segment. [[RuleOfScary The audience is often not given a huge amount of context for the strange incidents that occur, making the whole film feel more unsettling]].²* OurMonstersAreDifferent: The aptly-named Reapers have a very surreal, GrimReaper-esque look to them and [[DarkIsNotEvil seem to exist to oversee]] [[BlueAndOrangeMorality and dish out punishments]].²* PetTheDog: The masked men actually let Jem go, to Daryl's relief. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, she returns to try and take them down. [[NoGoodDeedGoesUnpunished It ends badly for her]].]]²* PsychologicalTormentZone: [[spoiler:The entire film is set in a purgatory that torments and punishes the people within it, forcing them to confront their demons.]]²* RealityIsOutToLunch: Occurs in a few of the segments (see also AlienGeometries above), but it's pretty prominent in "Jailbreak": Al has an eye tattooed on the back of his hand that actually ''blinks'' when he holds it up over his eye, and can use it to see a strange dimension in negative hues (dubbed the Negative Zone by the filmmakers), populated by Lost Souls. He can also use it to see an otherwise invisible door to the tattoo parlour. Danny later ends up [[spoiler:trapped in the Negative Zone when the Lost Souls take him.]]²* ReligionOfEvil: The cultists in "Siren", who are implied to worship {{Satan}} or a similar entity, and end up [[spoiler:brainwashing Ava and Kim into their ranks.]]²* TheReveal: [[spoiler:The events of the film are taking place in an endless looping day within purgatory.]]²* RewatchBonus: There's a lot of symbolism and imagery that makes a lot more sense upon a second viewing.²* SelfMadeOrphan: [[spoiler:Jesse]] turns out to be one of these. She killed her parents as a child, and confesses to [[spoiler:Danny]] that it wasn't an accident.²* SinisterSilhouettes: At a distance, the Reapers appear like this.²* TheUnreveal: Shortly before [[spoiler:killing her]], one of the masked men reveals to Cait just what her husband's crime is... except he says it in a muffled whisper far too low for the audience to hear, and the last part of the whisper was even reversed, just to make it even more indecipherable.²* TheVoice: The DJ is only ever heard via the radio show he's presenting (in fact, it seems to be the ''only'' show on that particular station - [[spoiler:justified, given the setting]]) and is never shown on screen.²* VomitIndiscretionShot: Kim and Ava vomit up BadBlackBarf after eating the meatloaf.²* WhamShot: After [[spoiler:killing Cait and Daryl]], two of the masked men remove their masks. [[spoiler:They're Mitch and Jack.]] However, as [[WordOfGod discussed in the commentary]], the filmmakers didn't intend for this to be a huge "wham" moment, [[TheUntwist assuming that most people would have figured it out by that point]].


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